Online Pharmaceutical Market and the Dangers of Counterfeit Medicines


A Tantárgybejelentőben megadott hivatalos adatok az alábbi tanévre: 2022-2023


  • Dr. András Tamás FITTLER

    associate professor,
    Department of Pharmaceutics and University Pharmacy


előadás: 7 óra

gyakorlat: 7 óra

szeminárium: 0 óra

összesen: 14 óra


  • Kód: OPE-OPM-T
  • 1 kredit
  • Pharmacy
  • Elective modul
  • both semesters

OPG-GI1-T completed

Kurzus létszámkorlát

min. 5 fő – max. 50 fő

Campus kurzusként elérhető 20 fő számára. Campus-karok: ÁOK ÁJK BTK ETK KTK MIK


Thousands of internet pharmacies are accessible on the web, and a vast number of illegitimate vendors overwhelm the market of online pharmaceuticals. This illegal market segment operates within an uncontrolled environment, with no restrictions on vendors, consumers or products, in which practically anyone can purchase any type of medication – including counterfeit drugs – without a prescription, medical supervision or appropriate diagnosis, consequently compromising patient and medication safety. International and national authorities lack efficient tools to discover and shut down illicit pharmacy websites and stop the illicit trade of counterfeit medicines. Accordingly, advanced computational methods are needed to detect and mitigate cybercriminal activity, and efficient inter-disciplinary communication and public awareness campaigns to inform consumers.
The course will provide insight into the current issues of the online pharmaceutical market and the dangers of counterfeit medicines. Real world data on legitimate and rogue online pharmacies, various stakeholders, networks, products and information content will be introduced, along with the discussion of measures combating illegal peddling of pharmaceuticals. Novel information technology and data-science methods on the evaluation of this enormous online market will be discussed.
Students can access resources for their individual and group assignment, further the slides of the lectures and further reading material on a designated web based interface (e.g. MS Teams and/or Neptun Meet Street).


  • 1. Development and current issues of the online pharmacy market - Dr. Fittler András Tamás
  • 2. Frequency and attitudes of consumers/patients purchasing medications online. - Dr. Fittler András Tamás
  • 3. Current practice and legal framework of online drug distribution in Europe, international comparison - Dr. Fittler András Tamás
  • 4. Facilitators of the online pharmacy market: self-medication, telemedicine, drug shortages, infodemic, etc. - Dr. Fittler András Tamás
  • 5. The role of the Falsified Medicines Directive in preventing falsified medicines entering the legal supply chain and reaching patients - Dr. Fittler András Tamás
  • 6. Evaluation of international pharmacy networks on the internet, applications of data science methods (lecturer: Prof. Dr Péter Iványi, Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology) - Dr. Fittler András Tamás
  • 7. Application of machine learning in identification of oral medicines to combat against falsified medicines and increase medication safety - Dr. Feldmann Ádám


  • 1. Nomenclature and categorization of online pharmacies. Identifying stakeholders of the market. (individual assignment)
  • 2. Evaluation of the potential benefits and risks from various aspects. SWOT analysis from patient/consumer’s, authority and online vendor’ perspective (group work)
  • 3. Importance of the closed drug supply chain and identification of the global threats of integrity (group work)
  • 4. The problem and prevalence of counterfeiting and falsifying of medicinal products – Introduction of project work on the international significance of counterfeit drugs and potential countermeasures
  • 5. Technologies against counterfeit medicine. Introduction and assessment of national and international verification systems of online vendors (group work)
  • 6. Assessment of search engine result pages, online vendor characteristics and product information. Application of a complex risk assessment methodology for project work.
  • 7. Presentation and discussion of project works: e.g. Evaluation of hazards associated with medicinal products sourced via the internet, Fighting the global trade of counterfeit medicines, etc.


A tananyag elsajátításához szükséges segédanyagok

Kötelező irodalom

Saját oktatási anyag

List of study aids to acquire curriculum and all presentations can be downloaded from MS Teams and/or Neptun MeetStreet.


Ajánlott irodalom

-Fittler András, Vida Róbert György, Káplár Mátyás, Botz Lajos: Consumers Turning to the Internet Pharmacy Market, JOURNAL OF MEDICAL INTERNET RESEARCH 20: (8) e11115
- Vida Róbert György, Merczel Sára, Jáhn Eszter, Fittler András: Developing a framework regarding a complex risk based methodology in the evaluation of hazards associated with medicinal products sourced via the internet, SAUDI PHARMACEUTICAL JOURNAL 28: (12) pp. 1733-1742.

A félév elfogadásának feltételei

Acceptance of term/semester:
- Regular attendance of classes, student should be able to work project-oriented and independently.
- Assignments and project work given in class should be carried out during term-time
- Presentation of project work

Félévközi ellenőrzések

There are no midterm tests, however participants will present their individual and group assignments and prepare for their project work.

Távolmaradás pótlásának lehetőségei

Oportunity is possible following personal discussion.


End-of-the-term test is organized in Neptun Unipoll at the regular time of lectures. The test will be on the whole semester’s curriculum. The end-of-the term test grade may be accepted as an examination grade, if passed. Assessment of the student performance is carried out according to a five-grade scale:100-86,1% -excellent (5); 86-77,1% -good (4); 77-68,1% -satisfactory (3); 68-60,1% -pass (2); and below 60,0% -fail (1) respectively.


Gyakorlatok, szemináriumok oktatói

  • Dr. Fittler András Tamás
  • Dr. Vida Róbert György