Illegal websites posing as pharmacies still swarm the search engines

keyboardBuying from the internet can be risky, especially when it comes to your health. Those with health problems such as erectile dysfunction should only ever receive their medication from a registered pharmacy, clearly displaying the green cross logo and pharmacy number – which can be verified – on the front page of their website, as follows:

Medical Specialists Pharmacy

 

So for example, you have erectile dysfunction, you should have already have had, or about to initiate check-ups with your own doctor for any other underlying reasons for erectile dysfunction, and are about to search for a genuine, registered pharmacy on the internet. This is where you need to beware; there are thousands of illegal websites posing as pharmacies, who do not care about your health, who are plaguing search engine results and easily accessible, high up the rankings.

Often even within the first few pages especially of any given search engine, there are countless examples, and it is catastrophic. It is disastrous for patients, for genuine online pharmacies, and gives the entire e-commerce industry an unfairly bad reputation. But the good news is Medical Specialists Pharmacy are reporting these malicious websites to authorities and to the search engines themselves.

Here are the summarised important factors that can help you spot a rogue online pharmacy/illegal website.

. An unnecessary/suspicious internet browser redirect.

. No requirement of a doctors’ consultation for prescription medication.

. Long delivery times, sometimes up to several weeks. This is due to the drug being imported from a foreign country before it gets to you.

. The price of the medication is a lot cheaper than what would be expected, sometimes by as much as 70%. If a price is too good to be true, it’s probably because it is.

. ‘Bonus’ or ‘free pills’. Seriously, just stop and think what doctor would throw in free pills for you requesting a higher amount of something. Frankly, it is absurd and an obvious sign of an illegal pharmacy.

. The website does not list any contact details, e.g. a telephone and fax number, email address, company address or details of its pharmacists, doctors, etc.

. A registered Pharmacy such as Medical Specialists Pharmacy will have the GPhC green cross logo together with its Pharmacy number. This number can be checked to see if it does actually exist.

. The company registration and VAT number should both be clearly stated on the website. Both of these are a legal requirement.

. A non-UK currency and/or a ‘head office’ that is based overseas.

Now when you think of searching for products of services, the chances are almost all of us will turn to Google. Simply put, amongst search engine users, Google blows all of its competitors out of the water. It is the most popular search engine by a staggering distance, with an estimated 83% of search engine users found to prefer Google in 2012, a remarkable percentage whatever way you look at it.

Those behind the previously mentioned illegal websites are fully aware of what search engines are popular, and will target them with a vengeance. It is a problem for both patients and legitimate fully-registered pharmacies such as Medical Specialists, Chemist Direct, and it is a problem that needs dealing with NOW.

Worryingly, a lot of illegal websites are posing as pharmacies, selling counterfeit drugs. They have no regulation and their drugs may have none of the active ingredient at all.  These websites are still populating user’s search results and more vigilance needs to be shown by internet users all around the globe to spot them and avoid at all costs. The cost could even be your health or worse, your life. Safety is of no concern to these criminals, they instead offer counterfeit drugs, or ‘generic’ versions of medications that should not have generics.

Even the pill quantities should make anyone with common sense alert to authenticity. Erectile dysfunction medications are usually packaged within a box of four tablets and it doesn’t take a lot to realise you are not dealing with a genuine pharmacy when 120 mg x 10 ‘generic Viagra’ pills are being sold for just £17.76. Quantity issue aside, 100 mg is the highest dose of Viagra and this alone should raise serious alarm bells. Those cheap ‘generic’ Viagra tablets could actually contain very little sildenafil (Viagra’s active ingredient), none of it at all, or much more than listed on the website – highly dangerous to those with certain health problems.

Other common traits for the illegal websites is suspiciously low prices, as touched upon with the previous example, as well as absolutely no prescription or online doctors’ consultation required when ordering. All genuine UK online pharmacies should have GMC-registered doctors under their wing to assess if particular patients are medically suitable for certain medications.

However, it does not stop there. Say it is Viagra you want to treat your erectile dysfunction, even before the website has loaded, take notice of your browser address bar. There is a good possibility a seemingly random website address of ‘xyz.com/index.php?12345’ showing on the search results will suddenly change to ‘cheapgenericdrugs4u-order-viagra-online’, or something else that appears suspect. Ask yourself, why would any legitimate online pharmacy go to the trouble of implementing a redirect in your internet browser? Basically, they wouldn’t…Close the website immediately before it has infected your computer with malware; malicious software that can disrupt or damage your computer’s operation and even collect sensitive information for a third party’s benefit.

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