Warning issued about bogus web pharmaciesLogo launched to highlight legitimate sites

10 January 2008

Online pharmacy logo

Millions of people could be risking their health by buying dodgy prescription-only medicines from rogue websites.

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (RPSGB) estimates that more than 2 million people across Britain now regularly buy medicines via the web.

But it says that while there are a number of legitimate online pharmacies, there are others selling counterfeit, substandard or unapproved new drugs.

To tackle this threat, the RPSGB has launched a new logo to help patients identify websites operated by a bona fide pharmacy in Britain.

Counterfeit drugs

All pharmacies across Britain, including those offering internet services, must be registered with the RPSGB.

The new logo will be visible on the homepage of participating online pharmacies and features the unique RPSGB membership number of the pharmacy operating the site.

A link from the logo to the RPSGB registration pages allows you to check the legitimacy of a website and the pharmacists running the practice before making a purchase.

Online dangers

RPSGB Director of Practice and Quality Improvement, David Pruce, said: ‘The internet presents a real danger to people's health.

‘Dishonest traders are selling medicines online without any relevant professional qualifications or healthcare expertise. The products they sell can be poor quality at best and dangerous at worst.

‘People who wish to buy medicines over the net should do it at a legitimate registered online pharmacy. Pharmacists are experts in medicines and can lawfully and safely supply them over the internet.’

The RPSGB also advises you to:

  • look for the name and address of the pharmacy operating the website - it should be connected to a ‘bricks and mortar’ pharmacy
  • avoid websites that offer to supply prescription-only medicines without a prescription
  • check whether you're asked questions before buying your medicine. Registered pharmacies are required to check that a medicine is suitable for a patient to use before selling it.