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Pharmacists warn against buying POMs online

Practice Pharmacists are warning about the dangers of the illegal medicines trade, as research showed half had come across patients who had bought POMs through illicit websites.

Pharmacists are warning about the dangers of the illegal medicines trade, as research showed half had come across patients who had bought POMs through illicit websites. 

As the details of a BBC investigation emerged today, accusing nine London pharmacies of selling POMS without a prescription, pharmacists were warning the public about buying medicines online in a campaign called Real Danger. Get real, get a prescription.

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) launched the campaign with the MHRA, Pfizer and the Patients Association and also revealed the findings of its survey, which found that 73 per cent of pharmacists felt there had been a rise in the number of people obtaining POMs online without a prescription through illicit websites.

Some of these illegal sites are very professional and look like legitimate online pharmacies Neal Patel, RPS

More on POMs

Pharmacists under fire as BBC exposé uncovers       illegal POM sales

Pharmacy Voice urges MHRA to get tough on       counterfeits

Counter attack: the fight against counterfeiters

The survey of 650 pharmacists, conducted in September, also revealed that 41 per cent of respondents had been asked by customers about obtaining POMs without a prescription.

Embarrassment over visiting a GP and the belief that it was quicker to buy medicines illegally were fuelling the trend, the survey suggested.

The RPS said its survey findings were worrying and highlighted the dangers of buying medicines online.

"Some of these illegal sites are very professional and look like legitimate online pharmacies, but supply dangerous fakes or unlicensed medicines that have serious health implications," said RPS spokesperson Neal Patel.

The warnings were echoed by Pfizer, which stressed that unlicensed or fake medicines were often produced by people with no appropriate qualifications and could contain harmful ingredients such as arsenic.

"Some fake medicines can contain totally different ingredients to the labelled active ingredients, some of which may interact with other medications, exacerbate other ailments or simply be toxic," said Pfizer medical director Berkley Phillips.

The campaign, which includes a website and educational video, is aimed at educating consumers on purchasing medicines safely and comes after C+D's investigation earlier this year into the availability of POMs online.

In September, the MHRA reported that it had seized £34 million worth of illegal medicines over the past five years.



Have you noticed a rise in patients asking about ordering POMs online?

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1 Comments

Leon The Apothecary, Student

I find Viagria a common culprit of this. Could be attributed to it's high cost, and the company's resistance to allowing it to go generic. Online medicine is the future, we just need to be better equipped for it, regulatory bodies for online sale and advice, web GP access.

These things need to happen. Until they do this issue will always be an unresolvable problem.

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