Japan: Supreme Court Approves Online Sales of OTC Medications

In 2009 an ordinance was issued by the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry prohibiting the sale of most OTC drugs online. Many ordinary OTC drugs such as gastrointestinal and cold medicine were classified as high risk and were limited to brick and mortar licensed retailers.  Online sales were limited to only very low risk products.

On January 11, the Supreme Court approved the sale of over-the-counter drugs online. The Court declared the 2009 ordinance illegal and invalid as it violates the Pharmaceutical Affairs Law. Under the Supreme Court ruling, online sales of OTC drugs can resume as it did before 2009.