On September 10, 2012, the International Institute of Research Against Counterfeit Medicines (IRACM) presented an Ifop survey commissioned by IRACM and the Union of Manufacturers, UNIFAB.

A pioneer in opinion and marketing surveys and a leader in its sector, Ifop has been chosen by IRACM and UNIFAB to conduct the survey due to the French government’s interest in online pharmacies.

The “online pharmaceutical sales” survey was conducted between 5 and 10 September 2012 on a sample of 999 people representing the French population over the age of 18.

Online pharmaceutical sales in France

With the number of counterfeit pharmaceutical seizures increasing across the globe and many international law enforcement organizations launching operations to stem the problem, several European countries had already legalized online pharmaceutical sales and the French government decided to follow suit.

A pharmacy in Normandy selling health and beauty products on its website for the past year started selling pharmaceuticals on the same site on November 14, 2012.

On 19 December 2012, the French Council of Ministers adopted an order to govern the sale of pharmaceuticals online and fight against medicine counterfeiting. This method of distribution is only available to pharmacists working in physical pharmacies and for medicines not requiring a prescription. The order was published in France’s Official Bulletin on December 21, 2012.

3% of the French population have already purchased prescription drugs over the internet

The survey revealed that in 2012, 3% of people in France had already purchased a prescription drug from an e-pharmacy and 17% would be willing to buy prescription drugs this way.

Although it cannot be considered common practice, it would appear that buying pharmaceuticals over the internet is slightly more widely accepted for non-prescription drugs, as 9% of respondents had already made such a purchase and 26% stated that they were willing to do so.

50% of respondents claimed that the main attraction for purchasing online was the lower prices.

The other reasons given were the wide choice of products and the fact that no prescription is necessary.

During the survey in 2012, 77% of people in France thought that the sale of pharmaceuticals on the internet was illegal, while 23% thought that it was already legal.


. See the results of the IRACM and UNIFAB survey « La vente de médicaments en ligne en France » (in French).

. See the press release (in French).

. See the page e-pharmacies in France to know more about the sale of medicines on the internet.