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Are Online Pharmacies Really Legit?



Buying your medicine online is a convenient way of dealing with your health issues. But while you’re never more than a few clicks away from finding an online pharmacy, not every company selling medication over the Internet is legitimate. 

Let’s break down online pharmacies and the regulations about selling medication online so that you can be sure you’re dealing with a legit, genuine pharmacy. 


What are the signs of an unregulated online pharmacy?

There are lots of warning signs that will let you know if you’re looking at a rogue pharmacist, such as: 

  • You’re able to buy prescription medication without a consultation
  • You are not given the option to speak to a registered pharmacist or healthcare professional
  • There is no listing for certification, licensing, or regulatory details
  • The prices on offer seem too good to be true  
  • There are deals for buying your medication in excessive bulk
  • Spam and unsolicited emails are sent out from the domain offering low-cost medication
  • Contact details are not listed on the website
  • Offering to ship anywhere in the world
  • Charging customs fees on the medication
  • The company isn’t registered in the UK (you should find this in the footer of every web page on the website)
  • You aren’t asked for any medical information prior to buying medication (the company should be asking you the same questions as your GP would)
  • Prices are not listed on GBP (£)
  • You can find little or no medical information on the company website

If you are unable to get complete satisfaction on all of those issues, then do not buy any medication from the website. If you do, you could be putting your health and life at serious risk. 


Buying from non-pharmacy websites

You should also avoid buying questionable ‘herbal’ cures rather than licensed medicines.  Treatments like weight loss pills or ED pills are often offered from non-registered pharmacy websites. They are notorious for tampering and can be very dangerous. 

It’s generally not a good idea to just go and seek out pills and medication without talking to a doctor or pharmacist first. Side effects and reactions need to be considered to ensure your safety. Something as simple as having a drink or sunbathing could lead to a serious reaction or complication. That’s why it’s so important to seek professional, medical advice.  


Risks of using a pharmacy that isn’t legit

It’s not just your wallet that’s in danger from untrustworthy online pharmacists, it’s your health too: 

  • Counterfeit medication might contain different active ingredients to those advertised
  • False medication could have no active ingredient
  • Illegitimate medication may have the wrong combination or concentration of active ingredients
  • Untrustworthy medication is liable to have the wrong dosage. This increases the risk of you experiencing an adverse reaction or damaging side-effects
  • Rogue online pharmacists may have purchased medication from manufacturers with little regard for patient safety
  • Buying medication without a prescription increases the risk of you ordering drugs which may be addictive.


Who regulates online pharmacies 

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) issued a warning that it is “completely impossible” to control the amount of illegitimate online pharmacies. 

However, there are a number of regulatory organisations you can look out for when trying to establish if a pharmacy is legit. 

  • Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA)
  • General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) – this organisation holds a record of all pharmacies it has accredited
  • Care Quality Commission (CQC) – this institution has its own register of internally accredited online pharmacies 

If you can’t find any of these regulatory agencies on the pharmacy's website, you can also visit the General Pharmaceutical Council register

This has a record of both online and offline pharmacies that have been accredited by the GPhC. 


How do I know The Independent Pharmacy is legit?

The Independent Pharmacy has been in operation since 2013 and was established by two registered pharmacists and is run by a team of GPs, doctors, and pharmacists. Patients safety is our number one concern, and you can be certain that The Independent Pharmacy is legit because:

  • The Independent Pharmacy is regulated by the MHRA, GPhC & CQC
  • You can only buy prescription medication after a private prescription has been produced by The Independent Pharmacy’s prescribing team and passed to our pharmacy
  • The Independent Pharmacy is licensed to by the NHS to offer NHS prescription services in the UK
  • It’s very easy to get in contact with us and there are lots of options for you to do so – you are able to speak with us by email and telephone
  • All of the medication sold by The Independent Pharmacy is sourced from the same wholesalers as your local chemist
  • We will carry out a background identity check when you register with us and before you can buy any medication, just as you would with your GP.
  • The Independent Pharmacy has a Corporate Social Responsibility policy which can be viewed here.


Don’t take any chances with your health when you are buying medication online. Make sure the pharmacist is legit and that your health is their number priority before you order from them. We want to make sure that you're safe when buying online, so if you need any advice, even if it's to check another website - don't hesitate to contact us.

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