A benchmark virtual training portal for pharmacists will be part of Agora Sanitaria's Management Area and will also be accessible at www.preparandotufarmaciaonline.com

This blog aims at providing community pharmacies with sound information and with a space for consultation on the possibilities offered by recent Royal Decree (RD).

Data on legal possibilities, ways pharmacists should ready themselves to sell medicines and requirements needed will be provided in this blog, as will RD information updated by experts.

For the first time in Spain, the sale of OTC drugs on the Internet will be regulated. Royal Decree 870/2013, which regulates distance web-based public sales of over-the-counter drugs for human use, meets a long-standing demand of pharmacies. While it opens up new opportunities, it also raises questions, debate, and reflection. What legal requirements are to be met? How and to whom will sales permissions be requested? What drug products will be authorized for sale? How will the system work? What will the guarantees to the user be? ESTEVE and Ágora Sanitaria start this first blog to convey information and allow consultation on these issues.

"One of Ágora Sanitaria's main objectives is to provide the pharmacist with sound information likely to contribute to his/her professional development by way of training courses and by generating useful, practice-oriented contents. To this end, we use all available resources offered by new technologies through the online training portal, and create a blog", explains Cristina Rodríguez, Head of the Ongoing Training and Professional Development Department of the Pharmacists Association of Barcelona (COFB).

For her part, ESTEVE's Director of OTC products Gema Barzano highlights that "ESTEVE is concerned with fostering multi-channel approaches and with supporting any initiative likely to add value to the pharmacist' role and to the pharmaceutical sector. Hence, our new space www.preparandotufarmaciaonline.com attempts to help pharmacists in this new challenge by providing detailed information and pros and cons of using online channels to sell OTC drugs".

The regulation of online OTC drug dispensation was published in the BOE (Spanish State Bulletin) on 9 November 2013. Some time, however, will pass before it is fully implemented. Until then, pharmacies must ready themselves duly and see that all requirements are fulfilled according to the law.

This blog, started jointly by Ágora Sanitaria (www.agorasanitaria.com) and ESTEVE, intends to be a benchmark where community pharmacists can clarify doubts and find accurate, verified and updated information on the actual possibilities of the RD.

This space will give due consideration to expert opinions and has been designed to facilitate communication between the different agents of the sector. Its ultimate purpose is opening up a space for reflection where community pharmacists who choose to take a step forward and sell OTC drugs on line may do so with a solid knowledge of and previous reflection on the legal possibilities to be considered.

Updated information on online OTC drug dispensation

This blog is addressed to community pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, pharmacy assistants and the overall pharmaceutical industry, offers comprehensive information distributed in several sections, and is accessed with tools in several formats.

The blog is divided in five large sections, or blocks, and all include expert opinions. These sections are: the What's New section, with the latest novelties and op-eds; the Legal section, managed by AGM Abogados and by the Office of Legal Services of the Pharmacists Association of Barcelona; the Pharmaceutical Management and Action section, assisted by the Department of Deontology and the Community Pharmacy Committee of the Pharmacists Association of Barcelona; and the Technology and E-commerce section, assisted by expert consultants.

The blog is intended to be a dynamic space where agents of all sectors can interrelate, consultations can be answered promptly, and main subjects of interest can be raised. To this end, posts, video presentations and interviews with experts will be included, and surveys and a monthly newsletter with a summary of the main novelties will be issued.

You can follow ESTEVE on Twitter at this link: twitter.com/esteve_news.