LONDON, April 16 /PRNewswire/ --

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain is urging the public to be aware of the risks when purchasing medicines online, following a survey released by GP magazine.

The survey shows one in four GPs has treated patients for adverse reactions to medicines bought on the Internet. The Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain's Director of Policy, David Pruce said:

It is never a good idea to take a prescription medicine without a valid prescription. The medicine may not be suitable for you and could result in unpleasant side-effects or serious health risks. You should always discuss any health concerns with your GP or pharmacist.

The Society has created the Internet Pharmacy Logo to help the public identify bona fide pharmacy websites where they can purchase medicines safely. I'd recommend patients look out for this logo when considering purchasing medicines via the internet.

We also advise members of the public to make other checks in addition to looking for the Internet Pharmacy Logo when buying medicines online. These include: checking the registration status of the pharmacist; looking for the name and address of the pharmacy operating the website, as it should be connected to a bricks and mortar pharmacy; and avoiding websites offering to supply prescription-only medicines without a prescription. Customers should also be aware a registered pharmacy would ask questions before allowing the medicine to be purchased, as they will need to check if a medicine is suitable for a patient to use before selling it.

The Society has also been working with the Medicine and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to encourage the public to buy medicines in the safest way and to raise awareness of counterfeit medicine and its dangers. At the end of this month all pharmacies in Great Britain will be sent a two-sided postcard which they have been asked to distribute in prescription bags, targeting products which have previously been counterfeited in the UK. It gives advice to patients on what counterfeit medicine is, how to minimise the risk of buying fakes and what to do if they think they've been sold counterfeits.

Notes to Editors

Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (RPSGB) is the professional and regulatory body for pharmacists in England, Scotland and Wales. It also regulates pharmacy technicians on a voluntary basis, which is expected to become statutory under anticipated legislation. The primary objectives of the RPSGB are to lead, regulate, develop and represent the profession of pharmacy.

The RPSGB leads and supports the development of the profession within the context of the public benefit. This includes the advancement of science, practice, education and knowledge in pharmacy. In addition, it promotes the profession's policies and views to a range of external stakeholders in a number of different forums. Following the publication in 2007 of the Government White Paper Trust, Assurance and Safety - The Regulation of Health Professionals in the 21st Century, the RPSGB is working towards the demerger of its regulatory and professional roles. This will see the establishment of a new General Pharmaceutical Council and a new professional body for pharmacy in 2010. For further information, visit

For media enquiries please contact the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain's Public Relations Unit, +44(0)20-7572-2336