Health agencies of Mexico, Spain, Colombia, Paraguay and Central America, signed a letter of intent (LOI) aiming to strengthen joint surveillance on the sale of medicines over the Internet and reduce health risk.

Health agencies agreed to create a regional observatory (Observatorio Regional) to monitor Internet medicine sales and to establish legal mechanisms to fight misleading advertising. The efforts will also include education of the public on the risks of consuming drugs that have no scientific backing.

Mexican health agency (COFEPRIS) representatives highlighted that this regional resolution to fight misleading advertising can help protect the health of 230 million consumers in the signatory countries. This strategic agreement aims to strengthen the regulation and control of drugs offered through the Internet, which often offer misleading claims and are often without health registration.

Representatives of COFEPRIS also stressed that misleading advertising in the Internet has been fought hard with effective watches and agreements with companies such as eBay, and with the support of the local Cyber Police (Policía de Ciberdelincuencia Preventiva). During the period of 2013 to 2015, 10,311 illegal advertisements were suspended, representing an increase of 329 percent over 2012.

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Originally published 11 February 2016

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