Prescription drugs carry a prescription for a reason- whether that's due to potency, the severity of a drug's side effects or the possible risk of overdose- there's a lot more to consider than with benign, over-the-counter medication and taking something that isn't suitable for you could cost you your life. There are two types of online dispensaries and the information they require of you varies between them:
These do not employ doctors, so will need you to provide a legally valid prescription (from your GP or health professional) before they can dispense any medication to you. An email prescription is not sufficient.
These employ proper, GMC regulated doctors so are qualified to offer their own online consultations in place of an existing prescription. In this instance you will be required to complete a comprehensive medical questionnaire so that they can properly assess your suitability to the drug.
If you are not asked either for a valid prescription or to provide background health information before making your purchase, alarm bells should be ringing and you should consider buying your medicine elsewhere.
The sale of prescription medication is strictly regulated in the UK, and all drugs sold legally must have a valid MHRA license.
All health care services in England must be regulated by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to ensure that essential standards of quality and safety are being met. So the CQC logo should be displayed somewhere on the website.
All legitimate internet pharmacies must be regulated by either the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) or the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS). If you are unsure, the GPhC operates an internet pharmacy logo scheme, so look out for this, rectangular green cross displaying a unique registration number.
All authentic online doctors will be GMC registered and as such comply with the Good Medical Practice Guidelines. Look out for a 7 digit registration number (this should be clearly displayed for each doctor), which you can use to check their registration status using the GMC website.
Legitimate online doctors surgeries will be associated with registered, trusted pharmacies. All registered pharmacies must have a physical, 'bricks and mortar' address which will be clearly displayed on their website.
Legitimate websites will contain relevant, high quality information about both the drugs they prescribe and the conditions they treat; while scam sites tend just to focus on how cheap and easily obtainable their products are.
Credible sites will list a contact number or contain some kind of internal messaging system that lets their doctors or pharmacists to be on hand to answer any questions or reservations you might have.
Loopholes in the law make it possible for foreign companies to sell unlicensed prescription medication and the vast majority of counterfeit medicine comes from East Asia or South East Asia.
Again, this suggests that the operation is based abroad.
Half of all unsolicited emails are selling medication online. These will usually head directly to your spam folder and that's exactly where they should stay. If you are interested in purchasing a particular drug, you should conduct your own research rather than following the links found in junk email.
Likewise, avoid pharmacies that offer to 'sell in bulk', provide discount offers or 'miracle cures.' If something sounds too good to be true, it generally is.
Some 'companies' operate under the guise of online pharmacies when their real, underlying motives are to obtain personal information to sell to third parties; they are unlikely to send you any medication, fake or not. A comprehensive returns policy is one way of ensuring that the site is to be trusted.
Unscrupulous internet companies may employ deceptive methods to extort money or extract your personal information. Be wary of any sites that do not explicitly state all shipping fees, privacy and payment options up front as well as those that don't have secure and encrypted systems to guarantee safe transactions.
When you get ready to "check out," the URL on that page should start with https:// (not http://). The 's' indicates that the page is secure.
When buying prescription drugs online you should always err on the side of caution. This means avoiding any websites that violate even one or two of our guidelines and refusing to be swayed by cheap deals. Remember, they're probably unbelievable for a reason.
Our fast, convenient service is extremely straightforward
and you don't need to visit a doctor to use it.
You'll complete a short online health assessment and choose the medication you need. If you're unsure, our in-house GPs can also recommend the best treatment for you.
Our doctors will review your order, issue your prescription and pass it straight to a pharmacist to be dispensed.
Free First Class delivery is included and next day delivery starts at just £3.99. OR you can collect from any Royal Mail Local Collect® at your convenience.
We take precautions that other online providers don't,
so you’re given a convenient and discreet service.
Orders placed before 4pm will be dispatched the same day.
Available to Collect: Thursday 25 Feb 2016 after 11am
Get an SMS/email to collect from your preferred Royal Mail location
Estimated Delivery: Saturday 27 Feb 2016 - Tuesday 01 Mar 2016
Estimated Delivery: Friday 26 Feb 2016 by 1pm
All of your medication will be delivered in plain, unlabeled
packaging. A signature will be required but it does not
have to be the patient.