PGEU statement on the development of e-health and e
PHARMACEUTICAL GROUP OF THE EUROPEAN UNION
GROUPEMENT PHARMACEUTIQUE DE L’UNION EUROPEENNE
Secrétariat Général : Rue Belliard 159 - 1040 Bruxelles - Tél : +32 2 238 08 18 - Fax : +32 2 238 08 19
e-mail : [email protected] - Website : www.pgeu.org
PGEU1 statement on the
development of e-health and
PGEU and its members, the national associations of pharmacists want to collaborate on the
development of the use of Internet and the emergence of e-health and e-enhanced pharmacy
The increased use of the Internet and the development of e-health applications offer specific
advantages and opportunities for the public and for health care providers:
• Information- and data-exchange will increase and interaction costs will come down.
• Information and data exchange among health professionals will increase.
• The information asymmetry1 between patients and providers will be reduced.
• The delivery of health information will become a more important and integrated part of
health care delivery.
• The quality of care can be increased, because variations in cost and outcomes will be
reduced through better information.
• Better-informed patients will select optimal quality of care at a reasonable cost.
PGEU calls upon the national and European authorities to help pharmacists, together with
other healthcare providers, to develop these advantages and opportunities.
The pharmacists want to develop high quality e-enhanced pharmacy, based on the following
1. The existing body of indispensable regulations should be preserved, adapted and applied,
in the real world and apply equally to the world-wide Internet.
2. The same quality, safety and security should be guaranteed on the Internet as in standard
health care and as in the normal relations between stakeholders in the field.
Users should be able to enjoy the benefits and extra possibilities of the Internet, without
losing the quality, safety and security of existing health care provision.
Information asymmetry = providers have more information on health and health care than patients. The
Internet reduces this asymmetry.
Today three main sectors of Internet e-pharmacy applications can be identified:
1. Information applications
Information on health- and pharmaceutical-subjects is offered and searched for, both by
the public and health care providers. But the overabundance of information and the lack
of quality assessment hamper the optimal use of the available information.
International and European standards, mutually recognised certifications of quality for
information sites and specific e-pharmacy search engines will all have to be developed.
These information management tools should be developed according to the different
needs and levels of knowledge of the public, the providers and the academic world.
2. Business to business applications (B2B)
The development of business to business (B2B) applications between providers will
increase the exchange of information, will increase competition and will allow easier and
more rational ordering and selling. But the lack of standards and concerns about security
hamper the rapid spread and optimal development of B2B in the community pharmacy
The development of European standards and the mutually recognised certification of B2B
interfaces and applications.
3. Provider to patient2 applications (P2P)
Commercial applications aimed at the patients are being developed to convey information
or publicity. While face to face contact between patient and pharmacist is a crucial
element of a successful medicinal therapy, additional health care services provided by
pharmacies online can optimise the treatment.
Legal provisions should ensure maximum safety for the patient and at the same time
facilitate the development of online pharmacy services.
The development of European standards and the mutually recognised certification of P2P
applications, including the necessary standards for transmission of electronic
prescriptions and related health data, should help all stakeholders to extend their existing
services and health provision gradually and safely to Internet applications. It is essential
that pharmacies have access to all relevant information.
This approach must be compatible with the joint statements of the CP3 and the PGEU
Since commercial relations in the realm of pharmacy and medicines are specific, due to the specificity of
medicines, we prefer in relation to the Internet to speak about P2P applications (Provider to Patient), rather than
B2C (Business to Consumer).
CP members are 17 National medical associations (NMAs) of the EU member states and the EFTA countries
as well as 14 observers and associate members NMAs from other European countries, many of them applicant
countries to EU. The CP represents 1,4 million doctors within the EU/EEC.
entitled "Enjoy the Internet but don't risk your health" and "Prescription - only medicines
should not be advertised directly to the public".
STANDARDS AND GUARANTEES
Standards for data and information interchange, B2B and P2P applications will have to focus
on giving mutually recognised guarantees for among others:
1. Authentification and Certification: guaranteeing the identity and qualification of
stakeholders (pharmacists, physicians, patients, etc.).
2. Electronic signature: guaranteeing the authenticity of transmissions.
3. Encryption and firewalls: guaranteeing privacy and security of data exchange.
European Working Party
In order to create a framework for these standards and guarantees within the health sector we
would like to request that the Council proposes the creation of a European Working Party to
address the issue.
Such a working party should consist of representatives of the health professions, Commission
officials and Council representatives.
Approved by PGEU GA 14/06/2001