Why Buying Medicines Online is Risky and Dangerous

Why Buying Medicines Online is Risky and Dangerous

Buying certain drugs and medication online might seem ok since they come well packaged or are purchased from an online pharmacy; however, when you buy online there are some risks. Online pharmacies that are registered to sell in the UK are OK but others may not be. Keep an eye out for these kinds of registered pharmacy and verification logos, below:

How Can You Check If a Website Is a Legitimate Online Pharmacy?

Online pharmacies that want to sell prescription medication in England must be registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC). This is a government appointed independent regulator of health and social care.

When you visit a website that is CQC regulated, you should see a clickable link like this which proves they are authentic:

Also, it is mandatory that all pharmacies that supply medicines online must be registered with the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC).

Since July 2015, all legitimate online pharmacies operating in the EU have been required to display the following logo:-

What’s The Risk When Buying From Unregistered Pharmacies?

When you purchase medication from unregistered pharmacies, you might be getting fake drugs that appear real. The medication probably doesn’t have the active drug or the required dose. The pills might have more of the active ingredient that is required or it might include ingredients that are low quality or harmful. These drugs can be potentially harmful to your health if they have not been properly screened. For instance, you could be getting a drug made to look like Xanax, however, alprazolam (Xanax’s active ingredient) might not be included or at the other extreme, it might have too much and result in you having to be hospitalised.

The Problem of Fake Viagra

In 2019, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) highlighted the problem of fake erectile dysfunction drugs being sold online. 3.5 million fake drugs of this type were seized by authorities that year. The ironic thing is that Sildenafil pills (sold as Viagra) are now available to buy without a prescription. They can be bought over the counter – or from a genuine online pharmacy. However, because many people would rather skip an awkward conversation with the GP or Pharmacist, they instead buy online and many then fall into the trap of buying fake drugs.

The Risk To Your Personal Information

Your financial and personal details might also be in jeopardy on these dodgy websites. Your info could be collected and sold to criminals, which could then be used to extort money from you or other people. Buying online is similar to buying in person from a legal perspective.  When you get an online order from outside the country, it is treated the same as importing it and could result in lengthy prison sentences.

Photo Credit:  “White Pink and Yellow Blister Packs – Cr” (CC BY 2.0) by Homedust

This post has been updated since its original publication in 2019.

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