European Commission details new rules for information on prescription-only drugs

The European Commission said Tuesday that it has adopted new proposals outlining the information that drugmakers can provide to the public on prescription-only medicines. John Dalli, European commissioner for health and consumer policy, remarked that the new rules "put rights, interests and safety of patients first" and "further strengthen the control of authorised medicines."

The European regulator noted that patients "are increasingly interested in learning more about the medicines they take," but cautioned that "the increased use of the internet…makes the need for clarity even more important." The new regulations amend the original proposals released in 2008, and maintain the current ban on advertising prescription-only medicines.

The latest guidelines will allow only certain information on drugs, such as information on the label and on the packaging insert, information on prices and clinical trials, and instructions for use. The rules also propose that the information would only be allowed via "limited channels of communication," including on officially registered internet websites.

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