EU seeks information from Chinese online sales site on counterfeit medicines

Adriana Lima
By Adriana Lima 4 Min Read
origin 1This photograph, taken on September 24, 2020, exhibits the AliExpress emblem at a pop-up store in Paris ©GEOFFROY VAN DER HASSELT / AFP

The European Commission has despatched a formal request for information from the Chinese e-commerce site AliExpress on the measures taken to guard customers from unlawful merchandise such because the sale of counterfeit medicines online.

AliExpress, owned by Chinese tech big Alibaba, should reply by November 27 or it might face an investigation.

The European Commission might impose a advantageous for “incorrect, incomplete or deceptive information” regarding the request.

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AliExpress is taken into account a “very giant online platform” below the EU’s Digital Services Act (DSA), which got here into drive for these platforms in August.

This means the corporate is topic to new necessities aimed toward defending customers online.

“The Digital Services Law is not just about hate speech, disinformation and cyberbullying,” Thierry Breton, European commissioner for the interior market, mentioned in a press release.

“It is also there to ensure the removal of illegal or unsafe products sold in the EU via e-commerce platforms, including the growing number of counterfeit and potentially life-threatening medicines and pharmaceuticals sold online,” he added.

The European Commission has additionally despatched formal requests to TikTok, Meta and X (previously Twitter) for the unfold of disinformation and unlawful or violent content material.

Failure to adjust to the brand new EU guidelines results in excessive fines proportionate to the scale of the corporate.

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Platforms designated as “very large,” that means they’ve at the least 45 million month-to-month lively customers (10% of the EU inhabitants), might be fined as much as 6% of their international turnover.

The European Commission might additionally topic the platform to enhanced supervision or, as a “very last resort”, ask judges to ban the platform from the block.

So far, the EU has designated 19 corporations as giant online platforms or search engines like google and yahoo.

Counterfeit medicine in online markets

A 2022 report by the EU Intellectual Property Office and Europol says counterfeit pharmaceutical merchandise have moved from bodily to online markets, with an “ever-widening range of medicines”.

Counterfeit and pirated items imported into the bloc have an estimated worth of 119 billion euros, the report provides.

Patients in Austria and the UK have been recently admitted to hospital with critical uncomfortable side effects after taking falsified weight-loss medicine, with regulators warning medical doctors to verify the supply of provide if not from authorized pharmacies.

Under the Digital Services Act, online markets should determine merchants promoting merchandise to higher shield customers from unlawful merchandise.

They are additionally required to tell customers who’ve bought a product as quickly as the corporate turns into conscious of its illegality and to hold out random checks on the product documentation.

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