The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare said Saturday it plans to establish a panel to draw up new rules for selling medication online.
The announcement follows Friday’s Supreme Court ruling in which two online medicine retailers appealed a government ban and won the right to continue to sell nonprescription drugs, such as flu medicine for example, online.
In 2009, over-the-counter drugs were divided into three classes, according to their potential side effects, following which the government, at the request of the Japan Pharmaceutical Association, which represents more than 100,000 pharmacists in the country, made sales of class 1 and 2 non-prescription drugs illegal online.
Online retailers Kenko.com and Wellnet filed a lawsuit against the government in March of 2010, but the Tokyo District Court rejected the suit and upheld the constitutionality of the ban.
However, Kenko.com and Wellnet successfully appealed to the Supreme Court that this was excessive regulation and that the ban was unconstitutional, TBS reported. The Supreme Court ruled in their favor Friday and recognized their right to sell some over-the-counter drugs online.
In response, the health ministry said it plans to introduce new, stricter rules for online medicine vendors.