In a busy world where it can take up to 28 days to get an appointment to see your GP and take time off work, more of us are turning to the internet to buy prescription drugs.
But are they safe?
Many online pharmacies are unregistered, so buying from them is potentially unsafe. Some popular drugs are often sold cheaply online and without a GP prescription. But this is risky, as medications should only be taken under the supervision of a health professional.
Guidance on whether the drug is suitable for you, the dosage, possible side effects and any harmful interactions with other medications is crucial. Problems can also arise when patients try to self diagnose their condition.
The NHS advise the following;-
1 Always get your medicine from a pharmacy or a reputable outlet.
2. It is never a good idea to take a prescription medicine without a valid prescription. The medicine may not be suitable for you and could result in unpleasant side effects or serious health risks.
3. Check for the internet pharmacy logo when buying medicine online.
You can also check the registration status of the pharmacist by looking for the name and address of the pharmacy operating the website, as it should be connected to a "bricks and mortar" pharmacy.
Medicine sold from disreputable websites can be poor quality at best and dangerous at worst. What you receive in the post could be counterfeit, substandard or unapproved new drugs, which can put your safety at risk.
As with any purchases made online there is always a risk the product being sold could be fake, therefore if in doubt, speak to your pharmacist or book an appointment with your GP.
People should be wary of buying medications on the internet after an investigation found "widespread failings" at some online providers, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has said. The watchdog inspected 11 internet prescription services in England, finding some "potentially presenting a significant risk to patients". The regulator said while some providers were well-run, others "cut corners". The CQC says it will visit providers and close any putting patients at risk. It follows a BBC Radio 5 Live investigation into online pharmacies selling antibiotics.