General Pharmaceutical Council Introduces Further Safeguards for Online Medicines Purchases

May 1, 2019

The UK’s General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) has strengthened its guidance for online pharmacies to further safeguard patients when purchasing medicines.

The United Kingdom’s General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) has strengthened its guidance for online pharmacies to further safeguard patients when purchasing medicines, it was announced in an April 16, 2019 press release.

This updated guidance is a result of feedback from both the sector and the public collated by the GPhC last year and as well as concerns over the safety of online pharmacies, which was found in research carried out YouGov and commissioned by GPhC.

“We support pharmacy services being provided in innovative ways, including online, as long as the services are safe and effective for people. But providing pharmacy services online carries particular risks which need to be successfully managed,” said Duncan Rudkin, chief executive of the General Pharmaceutical Council. “People can be put at serious risk if they are able to obtain medicines that are not appropriate for them. We are now putting in place this updated guidance with further safeguards to protect people.”

The updated guidance specifically relates to four key areas: making sure medicines are clinically appropriate for patients, further safeguards for certain categories of prescription only medicines, transparency and patient choice, and regulatory oversight. All the updates were received positively from more than 800 individuals and organizations, who responded to a discussion paper in 2018. 

“I would strongly urge patients and the public wanting to obtain medicines online to only use online pharmacies registered with us, to protect their health. These pharmacies have to meet our standards and follow this guidance, so they provide safe and effective services, and we will be inspecting pharmacies to make sure this is the case,” Rudkin continued. “We are also continuing to work closely with other regulators involved in regulating online primary care services, governments, and other stakeholders across Great Britain to improve the quality of care for patients online.”

Source: GPhC