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davidtrump

UK Consumers of Online Pharmacies

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UK consumers

In the UK more than 2 million people buy drugs regularly over the Internet from online pharmacies; some are legitimate but others have "dangerous practices" that could endanger children. In 2008, the RPSGB (Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain) introduced a green cross logo to help identify accredited online pharmacies (from 2010 the internet pharmacy logo scheme is run by the GPhC (General Pharmaceutical Council)).

European registered pharmacists have reciprocal agreements allowing them to practice in the UK by getting registered with the General Pharmaceutical Council.

The first internet pharmacy in the UK was Pharmacy2U, which started operating in 1999. The UK is a frontline leader in internet pharmacy since a change to NHS pharmacy regulations in 2005 that made it legal for pharmacies to fill NHS prescriptions over the internet. Drugs supplied in this way tend to be medicines which doctors refuse to prescribe for patients, or would charge a private prescription fee, as all patients treated under the National Health Service pay either a flat price or nothing for prescribed medicine (except for medicine classed as lifestyle medicine, e.g. anti-malarials for travel), and medical equipment. Since July 2015 the Medicines and Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has required online sellers of medicines to adopt an EU wide logo and maintain an entry in the MHRA medicines sellers registry.

In the UK, online pharmacies often link up with online clinic doctors. Doctors carry out online consultations and issue prescriptions. The company employing the doctors must be registered with the Care Quality Commission. Online clinics only prescribe a limited number of medicines and do not replace regular doctors working from surgeries. There are various ways the doctors carry out the online consultations; sometimes it is done almost entirely by questionnaire. Customers usually pay one fee which includes the price of the consultation, prescription and the price of the medicine.

As of April 2016, there were 46 registered online pharmacies in England. In April 2017 the Care Quality Commission suspended the registration of Doctor Matt Ltd – trading as theonlinesurgery.co.uk because of inadequate medical assessment of prescription requests. Six have been warned after inspections.

Pharmacy2U claimed in June 2018 that online dispensing could save the NHS up to £400 million a year, a claim disputed by other pharmacy organisations.

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