Medical Specialists® Pharmacy know that purchasing/obtaining medicine and other pharmaceutical products over the internet can be risky. Are the products legitimate or counterfeit? Are qualified doctors and pharmacists actually involved in the process and will anyone actually even assess the online consultation you fill out, putting your health first? Or, is the website even legal and that of a real pharmacy?
Medical Specialists® have become a pioneer for security and safety in their field. The pharmacy became the first ‘One Stop Pharmacy and Doctors’ in the UK, operating an efficient, trusted and safe website where patient details are not supplied to any third party, and now it just so happens that Medical Specialists® have become one of first online pharmacies in the UK to be approved by the MHRA, and the first to display the new mandatory EU common logo.
Patients should avoid at all costs any website that sells medicines and does not display the new logo – it is law and needs to be shown! Also, bear in mind that any website that does display the logo, which when clicked, doesn’t take the user to that companies’ listing on the MHRA’s medicine seller register and state they are approved by the MHRA, then this would suggest it is an illegal website and again should be avoided immediately.
The mandatory logo for selling medicines online though will go some way to helping people identify the legal/real pharmacies from the fraudsters. From 1 July it was determined that anybody in the UK selling medicines online to the general public had to be MHRA registered and be on the MHRA’s list of UK registered online retail sellers.
Those patients that are already using legitimate online pharmacies such as Medical Specialists®, will undoubtedly already have seen the clickable green cross logo, which is part of a voluntary scheme from the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC). Users that click on this particular logo will be taken to the GPhC register of pharmacies and can see verification that this pharmacy is who they are claiming to be.
Medical Specialists® GPhC logo:
The new EU common logo will be required in addition to the GPhC logo and will not act as a substitution. Like the GPhC logo, the EU common logo is clickable, but the hyperlink will direct people to the MHRA’s list of registered online pharmacies. This will be an extra level of security, reassurance and peace of mind for the consumer, who will now be given a guarantee the medicine they receive will be legitimate and safe. Unlike the GPhC logo, the EU common logo will need to be shown on every page of the online medicine retailer’s website where selling to a patient occurs.
A sample EU common logo:
The MHRA website states: ‘Under the rules of the new scheme the medicine being offered online must be licensed in the member state where the member of public who buys the medicine is based. The person selling the medicine must be legally entitled to sell medicine to the public in accordance with UK medicines legislation. Registered pharmacies can sell general sales list medicine, pharmacy medicine or supply prescription-only medicine that they have dispensed against a prescription. All other general retailers can only sell general sales list products. The penalty for selling medicines online without being registered and not displaying the logo is up to 2 years in prison or a fine or both.’
So why the change and introduction of the EU common logo? With the rise of the internet and e-commerce, criminals such as medicine counterfeiters have a quick, efficient and direct route to target their unsuspecting customers, with countless illegal websites emerging on search engines in recent years. Common tactics used to persuade people to part with their money include the sale of medicines or products with suspiciously low prices and outrageously illegal offers on prescription drugs, such as “buy one get one free”. Imagine going to see your doctor and he offered you a buy one get one free on any particular treatment for a serious medical condition…the notion is preposterous and simply put, it wouldn’t happen.
However, Medical Specialists® are committed to help stamping out such websites; we have published numerous articles on the many ways how to spot a fake online pharmacy and on 17 March 2015 reported how The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) had carried out a huge crackdown on illegal websites, shutting down 1,600 in total.
This is great news of course as falsified medicines are a massive threat to public health and safety. It is questionable that counterfeit drugs have been manufactured in sanitary conditions, contain the same ingredients as the genuine article, and may have been produced using a wide variety of dangerous and toxic chemicals.
Many of the Medical Specialists® first-time patients express some degree of fear – especially over the telephone to our Order Team – and understandably so after the 1,000s of illegal websites and fake pharmacies that have unfortunately spread across the major search engines over the years. As previously mentioned though, the MHRA are working tirelessly to eradicate these from the internet and leave the genuine pharmacies, such as Medical Specialists®. The introduction of the mandatory common EU logo is another welcome step to guaranteeing a safe experience for all patients obtaining medicines via the internet.