Online-shoppers warned over online pharmacies

Australians may risk purchasing fake or adulterated products ... if they buy from online pharmacies that don’t comply with regulations.
Online-shoppers warned over online pharmacies

The Pharmacy Board of Australia has cautioned Australians over fake or rogue online pharmacies that are not complying with regulations as they represent a danger to consumer health.

In a recent editorial in NPS MedicineWise’s Australian Prescriber, Pharmacy Board of Australia chairman Bill Kelly said Australian pharmacy businesses must address a number of regulatory and licensing requirements of the jurisdiction and of operational best practice.

“These [online] pharmacies generally supply drugs without a prescription and may or may not employ pharmacists. They are rarely licensed in the jurisdiction where they are located. To all intents and purposes they are not pharmacies and may not even have a shopfront,” he said.

Mr Kelly said a recent UK study of 113 online pharmacies selling diazepam, fluoxetine and simvastatin found that fewer than 25% were regulated and 80 were willing to sell prescription medicines without a prescription.

He said Australians may risk purchasing fake or adulterated products or inappropriate supply of narcotics and other controlled substances if they buy from online pharmacies that don’t comply with regulations.

Many consumers also risked buying products with a lack of supervision by a doctor or pharmacist, and unlicensed premises and staff.

“Australian health consumers should be vigilant about online pharmacies and standards and guidelines of the Pharmacy Board of Australia, the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia, and the accreditation requirements of the Quality Care Pharmacy Program need to be maintained,” he said.

“There should be appropriate governance of access to medicines, whether that be through a traditional walk-in pharmacy or via an online transaction.”

Read the full editorial in NPS MedicineWise’s Australian Prescriber.

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