Should You be Buying from Online Pharmacies?

June 24, 2017Diana Lengerson


The internet is amazing. Need to carry out research for an essay? Just search for it. Bored and want to kill time? You can while away hours. Or do you really want to watch the latest box set? Then the internet is your friend, again. While the internet is a fantastic tool, are there times when we should forgo the world wide web? The answer appears to be, yes. Living in an increasingly digital time, we’re able to access almost anything instantaneously, from information to products. However, an investigation by the independent body Care Quality Commission (CQC), has revealed that online prescription services could pose a risk to customers.

While there are many online pharmacies that operate by guidelines and comply with regulation, there are those who are damaging the industry and posing a risk to consumers, supplying unlicensed drugs, giving patients the wrong prescriptions for serious conditions, or employing staff who lack the qualifications and experience to dispense medicine. As such, the CQC have promised to further investigate the offenders and take appropriate action. But, even if patients choose a reputable online pharmacy – such as Pharmacy2U which boasts partnerships with hundreds of GP surgeries – is shopping online for prescription drugs ever a good idea? Medical professionals have expressed concerns, as patients may be able to gain access to drugs without ever speaking to a professional who can accurately diagnose a medical condition.

Pharmacy Guidelines To help alleviate this problem, the CQC has published guidelines for online pharmacies to follow, whereby sites must take the following steps: get permission to speak to the patient’s doctor; find out about their medical history; and validate patient identification. While these guidelines aim to alleviate unlawful online pharmacies, how do consumers know which they can trust? How do they know they are being given the correct medication? And what should they look out for? Check List

  • Are they registered in the UK? Before purchasing, always find out if the online pharmacy has listed a physical address and telephone number
  • Do they willing provide information about the medication and what it is used for?
  • And is the company registered with a governing body? This can include the CQC, MHRA or General Pharmaceutical Council.

Safe or Not?

As a relatively new industry, the CQC and associated bodies are still working to enforce standards to ensure that patients are safe. However, if online pharmacies follow guidelines, are registered with an official body, and carry out thorough checks before providing prescription medication, then this innovative method of dispensary could become more common place in the future.

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