Not very many people have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceuticals, which is why it’s understandable for mistakes to occur when you buy medications and supplements. This wasn’t much of a problem in the past, as the pharmacist at your local community pharmacy was able to tell you all that you needed to know about the medication you were buying. Moreover, their credentials were put on display for you to see.
With the rise of e-commerce, however, the number of fake online pharmacies selling counterfeit or unregulated medication has grown as well. Hence consumers need to be able to spot the differences between a credible business and a fraudulent one, so that they can be safe and obtain the best medical products available which will be beneficial to their health. With that said, here are three things to look out for to remain safe online and avoid purchasing from a fraudulent online pharmacy:
1 – A lack of credentials
Even online pharmacies are required to be certified and licensed to sell medications and health products. Therefore, you need to pay attention to the credentials of any online pharmacy that you may potentially purchase from. The very first certification that you should look for in a shop is the General Pharmaceutical Council registration, as this will let you know that they are licensed to legally distribute medication.
The GPC is an organization that regulates pharmacies in Great Britain, so you need to make sure that any potential website provides you with their online pharmacy registration. This way, you can cross reference the code with the GPC website or often there will be a direct link. Aside from the pharmacy being certified, any pharmacy providing access to private prescriptions or incorporating an online doctor should ensure their prescribers are also registered and certified. In Great Britain this is done by the General Medical Council.
The last certification you need to look out for is the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) logo and registered seller number. The MHRA regulates the supply of medicines and medical devices in the UK to ensure they are safe for use. An online pharmacy displaying the MHRA logo and with a valid registered seller number means they are providing access to genuine and authentic medication online. If you come across an online pharmacy which provides you with neither a GPhC registration or MHRA registration you should avoid purchasing from them without further investigation.
2 – Deals that are too good to be true
You should be very wary of online pharmacies that offer “free trials” for their products. Reputable pharmaceutical companies don’t need to reduce the price of their products to attract patients, and neither do credible pharmacies. If a shop you’re buying from is selling their products at a much lower price than standard market value, it’s usually a cause for concern. Typically, the reasons behind a product being drastically cheap are that they are not licensed for use in the country of sale or are unregulated imports. Additionally, there is also the risk that they are counterfeit or fake drugs.
3 – A lack of questions/clinical checks
Keep in mind that many medicines can’t be distributed legally without a prescription, as they may have dangerous side effects, interact with other medication, require clinical supervision or possibly be highly addictive. Some medication can also be contraindicated for individuals who suffer from predisposed conditions or diseases. For example, people with hypertension (high blood pressure) shouldn’t take ED drugs such as Viagra, as it can affect their blood pressure and leave them in a life-threatening situation. The same is true for medicines that are likely to trigger an allergic reaction as well.
For this reason, you should avoid buying prescription medication from an online pharmacy that sells access to such drugs or highly regulated medicines without requiring you to complete a clinical questionnaire or assessment, or requiring a valid prescription.
If you’re looking for a safe, secure, and confidential online pharmacy in the UK, Smart Chemist is the smart choice for your health. Speak to a member of our Pharmacy team today to see how we can help.
Smart Chemist is registered with the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) and Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). For more information regarding registration details, please follow the links provided.