New guidance for medications provided by online pharmacies

New guidance for Online Pharmacy Services

At The Doctor Service, we welcome the new safeguards for people seeking medicines online, issued by the General Pharmaceutical Council for Online Pharmacies.

This guidance doesn’t affect our online doctor service, but it recognizes… something we’ve touched on before. The CQC and GPHC should be working together and issuing the same advice.

Two Companies may be providing a similar service, yet one is regulated by the CQC and the other by the GPHC. This enables loopholes to form, a lack of coherency and may also contribute to the apprehension from the public accessing healthcare online.

Making sure medicines are clinically appropriate for patients

The guidance now ensures that pharmacies will need to have robust processes to check the identity and that pharmacies can check whether people are requesting medicines inappropriately.

Providing medicine without putting patients and the public at risk

Certain conditions can be more serious if they’re not managed properly or people are taking the wrong medicine. For example, conditions such as asthma, epilepsy and mental health issues.

These will need extra checks in place. These extra checks will be required for medicines such as opiate painkillers, which can be very addictive and lead to dependency. Don’t let Online Pharmacies put your health at risk.

There are growing concerns on resistance to antibiotics

Antibiotics will have greater scrutiny as will other cosmetic products such as Botox. All those with extra safeguards will need to have the information shared with their GP.

At The Doctor Service, we believe this does need to go one step further. A health professional who is involved in the care of someone with a long term condition such as mental health or pain should be the ones prescribing.

It’s not safe to issue a medication for mental heath issues or for chronic pain for a patient whose medical history you don’t have access to, or have not consulted with.

There needs to be more transparency and patient choice

Pharmacies must now supply details about who is prescribing and where this prescribing is taking place. People must also know who is supplying the medicine and where the medicines are coming from.

The GPHC has stated ‘Pharmacies who are working with prescribers outside the UK must take extra steps to manage any additional risks’ At The Doctor Service we recognize there are additional risks, but these risks should not be allowed in the first place. The way in which healthcare operates outside the UK can be vastly different and this could pose extra risks to the UK public.

Duncan Rudkin, Chief Executive of The General Pharmaceutical Council said ‘People can be put at serious risk if they are able to obtain medicines that are not appropriate for them.’

Make sure you know more about the online pharmacy you are using before ordering. Find out more on staying safe online.

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