The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is urging the general public not to buy medicines from unauthorized websites and other vendors aiming to exploit fears and concerns during the ongoing pandemic.
In a press release dated 24 March 2020, EMA states that "vendors may claim that their products can treat or prevent COVID-19 or may appear to provide easy access to legitimate medicines that are otherwise not readily available." EMA warns that such products are likely to be falsified medicines.
How to protect yourself from fraudulent vendors
To protect from fraudulent sellers, the EMA gives the following recommendations and advice:
Patients should buy medicines only from a local pharmacy or retailer or from an online pharmacy that is registered with the national competent authorities.
All registered online pharmacies have a common logo. Before buying, patients should check that the online pharmacy has this logo.
Customers should click on the logo and will then be taken to the website of the national authority, and can check that the online pharmacy is listed on the national authority website.
If the online pharmacy is not listed on the national authority website, one should not order there.
In general, customers should never buy medicines advertised as cures or preventive treatments for COVID-19.