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  Don Lavoie is alcohol programme manager at Public Health England and Gul Root is lead...
Don Lavoie is alcohol programme manager at Public Health England and Gul Root is lead pharmacist, Health and Wellbeing Directorate, Public Health England
More inWhite Papers  

a computer imageJuly 2 2018

Online pharmacies will have to put new safeguards in place to protect people who want to purchase medicines online, the pharmacy regulator has said. 

Outlined in the General Pharmaceutical Council’s new consultation are proposals that online pharmacy websites should include:

  • information about the name and physical address of the pharmacy;
  • the name of the responsible pharmacist (RP) and supervising pharmacist if this is different;
  • the name and location of the prescriber;
  • whether the prescriber is a doctor or a non-medical independent prescriber.

It is also asking for views on the appropriateness of pharmacy websites being arranged in such a way that a patient can choose a Prescription Only Medicine, and its quantity, before having a consultation with a prescriber. Linked to this is a request for views on risks and benefits of patients being able to choose a POM in such circumstances.

The consultation is also asking about whether there should be additional safeguards in place for certain categories of POMs, including:

  • antimicrobials/antibiotics;
  • opiates and sedatives;
  • medication for long-term conditions such as asthma, diabetes, or mental health conditions;
  • non-surgical cosmetic medicinal products, such as Botox, Dysport or Vistabel.

The consultation runs until August 21 2018.

GPhC Chief Executive Duncan Rudkin commented: “We are concerned that patients may be able to access medicines that are not clinically appropriate for them from online primary care services. Medicines are not ordinary items of commerce, and must not be treated as such.

“Regulating healthcare services on the internet is complex, with different organisations and agencies responsible for different parts of the service. We want to play our part in strengthening the safeguards in place for patients and the public through the guidance we set for pharmacy owners and through our inspections of online pharmacy services.

“We want to hear people’s views on these proposals, to make sure we have addressed all of the key issues in this rapidly changing area. We are particularly keen to hear the experiences of patients and the public who may have used online pharmacy services.”

Links:
GPhC announcement    
GPhC ‘Discussion paper: Making sure patients and the public obtain medicines and other pharmacy services safely online’             

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