Submitted Proposals

Organization: Council of Europe
Title :
34. Medicines on the web - risks and benefits
Provide a concise formulation for the proposed workshop theme including its importance and relevance to the IGF.

The workshop deals with health protection of the internet user from counterfeit medicines and other illegal offers of pharmaceuticals via the internet through empowerment of the internet user, sharing of best practices and regulatory policies, and legal instruments for combating counterfeiting of medicinal products and similar crimes threatening public health , where necessary.

The quality of medical counselling and pharmaceutical products obtained via the internet cannot be taken for granted; they could entail considerable risks. Moreover, criminal activities concerning the production, distribution, and use of medicines and healthcare products (including counterfeit and illegal medicines and healthcare products) are widespread and the internet is frequently misused for these purposes.

The Council of Europe aims at counteracting the advertising and selling of illegal medicines and healthcare via the internet through specific policies and legal instruments, improving patient information1, the quality of healthcare that can be obtained online.

The Council of Europe envisages preparing an international binding legal instrument against counterfeiting of medical products and similar crimes involving threats to public health, a Council of Europe convention. The current work is focused on protecting public health. Often, offences associated with counterfeiting of medicines, distribution of illegal medicines are committed with the help of the Internet. The current work is focused on protecting public health. The impact of the convention would be enforced by xisting Council of Europe international treaties in the field, namely the conventions dealing with international co-operation against cybercrime and corruption.

Moderator: Mr Hugo K. BONAR, Irish Medicines Board. The moderator will also contribute to the topics (1) and (3). 

Topic (1): “Medicines on the net – risks and benefits”

Panellists: Mr Paul ZICKLER, MD, CIPA (Canadian International Pharmacy Association); Mr Hugo K. BONAR, Irish Medicines Board

The panellists will highlight certain aspects of benefit and risks associated with buying medicines via the internet to fuel the discussion on whether and how the safety of medicines on the web can be guaranteed.

Topic (2): “Can consumers and patients benefit from medicines on the web”

Panellists: Mr Kin-ping TSANG, International Alliance of Patients Organizations (IAPO); Mr Griffith MOLEWA, National Department of Health, South Africa 

The panellists will outline the needs, expectations of consumers/patients as regards information about and supply of medicines via the internet. In addition, the experiences and approaches of a public health authority with public perception of medicines on the net, consumer education, information, and risk communication, will fuel the discussion. 

Topic (3):”Policies and legal instruments that support patient safety and cyber-security”

Panellists: Dr Nico KIJLSTRA, Health Care Inspectorate Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport; Mr Hugo K. BONAR, Irish Medicines Board

Provide the names and affiliations of the panellists you are planning to invite. Describe the main actors in the field and whether you have you approached them about their willingness to participate in proposed workshop.
  • Hugo K. BONAR, Irish Medicines Board.
  • Paul ZICKLER, MD, CIPA (Canadian International Pharmacy Association)
  • Hugo K. BONAR, Irish Medicines Board
  • Kin-ping TSANG, International Alliance of Patients Organizations(IAPO) 
  • Griffith MOLEWA, National Department of Health, South Africa 
  • Dr Nico KIJLSTRA, Health Care Inspectorate Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport;
Provide the name of the organizer(s) of the workshop and their affiliation to various stakeholder groups. Describe how you will take steps to adhere to the multi-stakeholder principle, including geographical diversity.
The EDQM (Council of Europe) will organise the workshop in co-operation with organisations and associations active in the field such as: public and private sector, representative of consumers/ patients, international associations/ institutions, and academia.
Does the proposed workshop provide different perspectives on the issues under discussion?
The Council of Europe will organise the workshop and ensure that it reflects geographical diversity and multi-stakeholder interests. Gender - which forms a key element of its human rights work and standards - will also be reflected in the discussions.
Please explain how the workshop will address issues relating to Internet governance and describe how the workshop conforms with the Tunis Agenda in terms of substance and the mandate of the IGF.

The workshop directly relates to the mandate of the IGF, namely the following paragraphs of Article 72 of the Tunis Agenda:

a. Discuss public policy issues related to key elements of Internet governance in order to foster the sustainability, robustness, security, stability and development of the Internet;

b. Facilitate discourse between bodies dealing with different cross-cutting international public policies regarding the Internet and discuss issues that do not fall within the scope of any existing body;

c. Interface with appropriate inter-governmental organizations and other institutions on matters under their purview;

d. Facilitate the exchange of information and best practices, and in this regard make full use of the expertise of the academic, scientific and technical communities;

e. Strengthen and enhance the engagement of stakeholders in existing and/or future Internet governance mechanisms, particularly those from developing countries;

f. Identify emerging issues, bring them to the attention of the relevant bodies and the general public, and, where appropriate, make recommendations;

g. Help to find solutions to the issues arising from the use and misuse of the Internet, of particular concern to everyday users;

List similar events you and/or any other IGF workshops you have organized in the past.
The Council of Europe has not organsed similar events in the past.
Were you part of organizing a workshop last year? Which one? Did you submit a workshop report?

Together with the EBU, WBU, IFJ and the BBC, the Council of Europe co-organised the IGF workshop on “Quality and the Internet – using and trusting Internet content  (report submitted).  


The Council of Europe also organised an open forum on the public service value of the Internet (report will be submitted shortly) 


Together with United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the Association for Progressive Communications (APC), the Council of Europe co-organised a best practice forum on  “Public participation in Internet Governance: Emerging Issues, good practices and proposed solutions” (report submitted) 


Together with UNESCO and OSCE, the Council of Europe co-organised the workshop on “Freedom of expression as a security issue” (report will be submitted shortly). 

The Council of Europe also organised an open forum on “Protecting children on the Internet” (workshop report not submitted), and a best practice forum on the “Cybercrime convention” (report will be submitted shortly).