Advice when buying medication online

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Advice when buying medication online
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Buying medication online is legal in the UK.  This might seem tempting as you don’t need to move anywhere and with just a few clicks your medication can arrive at your door.  However buying medication online can be complicated as it it difficult to trust the selling site.  Here are five pieces of advice if you are planning on ordering medication online without a prescription. 

1/  Beware of counterfeits

Not all medication can be sold online.  However you can find a range of products from antibiotics, antidepressants, to Viagra, the morning-after pill and steroids.  You can also buy medication for:

  • Respiratory problems: old, angina and cough treatments.
  • Digestive difficulties : for constipation and diarrhea .
  • Pain: light pain relief medication for sore heads and muscle pain. 

These medications are made from active agents that will soothe your pain your relieve your cold.  However you need to make sure they are not counterfeit.  This is the biggest danger when buying medication online.

Medicines from false or bad manufacturers either do not contain the treating agent or it is over prescribed in the dosage.  In  either case, it is risky taking these types of medication.

2/ Suspicious looking sites

Not all sites are refutable on the internet.  However there are some ways that you can check the authenticity of a site that you find yourself on:

  • The site should always hold a physical pharmacy address.  (Go to their legal notice or contact page)
  • You can check the registration status of a pharmacy anywhere in Britain by checking the Pharmacy regulation of  the GPhC.  You should look out for this sign which shows the website is operating legally.
    internet pharmacy
    Credit: EU logo for legally operating pharmacy


  • Make sure you only buy medication that is legally able to be bought online.
  • Don’t buy medical prescriptions on a website that do not ask for a prescription as this is not legal. 

3/ Only buy medication you know

When buying medication online make sure that you know the medication before you buy it.  It is better if you have already had this medicine before so that you aren’t surprised if you are intolerance or have an allergy.  Self prescribing medication can seriously harm your health.

We recommend that you only restock your medicine cabinet with medicine that you have already rather than try out new treatments.

4/ Speak to a professional

Just like normal pharmacies, these sites should have access for people to contact a professional by mail or over the phone.  The pharmacist can give you advice and information about the dosage of medication and the medicine’s indications and counter-indications.  If in doubt, you can always speak your GP before you make any online purchases.

Moreover, before ordering the medication, you will often have to fill in a questionnaire.  This will help to check whether you order does not present any risks for your health.

© Frolicsomepl – Pixabay

5/ Confidential information

Lastly, you should feel secure when you make an online purchase.  Online pharmacies should provide a guarantee of the security of the user’s information.

Make sure that you don’t divulge any important information like your bank details or medical background to sites that seem unreliable.


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