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Thinking of buying your medicines over the internet? Don’t!

http://www.realdanger.co.uk/z_images/structure/bottle.gifThere are numerous sites on the internet promising you every sort of potion, lotion and pill. When your GP won’t listen to your ailment list (we’ve all got a good long one of those) and you think you should be treated for something when all you got was two paracetamol and some fibrogel, it could be tempting to have a look at some of these sites and pick your own painkillers or buy your own sleeping tablets. Before you do, please stop and think.

Apart from the obvious hazards of mixing unknown substances with the tablets you have been prescribed or buying while unaware of the health risks you could suffer from taking something, how do you know the site is selling what it says it is? How do you know you won’t end up with a handful of blue sweets or worse a handful of badly made, dangerous drugs? How do you know they won’t just take your money and run? The answer to all these is... You don’t. These sites are illegal, the drugs they are selling are illegal and you could be putting your life at risk by buying and taking these drugs.

Back in September The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), Interpol and the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) International Medical Products Anti-Counterfeiting Taskforce (IMPACT) got together to start an initiative to close down as many of these sites as they could.

Operation Pangea II is being run in 24 countries all together and in September alone three arrests were made, six websites were closed down and £300,000 worth of illicit medicines were seized, as well as quantities of controlled drugs. The types of medicines the MHRA found included those for erectile dysfunction, hair loss, contraception, weight loss, pain relief, asthma, local anaesthesia and steroids.

MHRA Head of Enforcement, Mick Deats, said that what often looked like a professional online pharmacy would turn out to be an illicit website selling fake or illegal medication.

This week we have recovered a range of different medicines that were being supplied with no prescription and stored in unacceptable conditions by persons unqualified to dispense medicines.

These websites often look like the real deal, but if they don’t carry the green cross logo of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (RPSGB) and have a ‘bricks and mortar’ address, then they are often dealing illegally.

The dangers of purchasing medicines from unregulated websites are that you just don’t know what you are taking. The dosages could be either too high or too low, contain no pharmaceutical ingredient or a totally different ingredient to that stated. Illegal suppliers have no quality control or standards to abide by and people who purchase medicine from these sources will never know where the tablets they are putting in their mouths have actually originated or what they contain.”

He went on to add:

“If customers could see the filthy conditions in which some of these medicines were being transported, stored and handled, they wouldn’t touch them.

Take a look at these sites BEFORE you buy:

Please don't risk your life for the sake of a few tablets. So before you decide to buy over the internet... Stop and think about it.

If you feel that your medicine may be counterfeit, contact the MHRA’s dedicated 24 hour anti-counterfeiting hotline on 020 7084 2701 or by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. You can also write to: Counterfeits, The Intelligence Unit, MHRA, Market Towers, 1 Nine Elms Lane, London, SW8 5NQ.

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