Researchers writing in medical journal the Lancet have warned about the dangers of buying drugs on the internet.
Citing specific cases and their own web searches, the researchers concluded: ‘the expansion of the internet is relentless and, from the perspective of patients seeking information, in the main positive. However, the online availability of controlled and uncontrolled drug therapies needs to be carefully monitored.’
Scott Fraser, one of the researchers, told the BBC: ‘If you look online it is extremely easy to get hold of anything you like. Obviously, you do not need a prescription. If you are going to access medicines on the internet you are gambling with your own health.’
He urged doctors to become more aware of the issue and to make sure that they asked patients whether they were taking any medicines purchased over the counter or online.
The UK’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory say the illegal sale and supply of medicines over the internet is a priority and that they are currently investigating over 100 internet-related cases where medicines legislation has been potentially breached. Some investigations have already resulted in successful prosecutions.