GPs warn on internet drug sales

By honourableone · Apr 16, 2009 · ·
  1. honourableone
    Doctors have warned of the perils of buying medicines over the internet.
    One in four GPs polled said they had treated patients for adverse reactions to medicines bought online.

    A further 8% suspected they had treated side-effects of internet-bought drugs, the snapshot survey of 420 doctors carried out by GP magazine found.

    Pharmacist leaders urged the public to be aware of the risks of internet medicines and use bone fide sites which require a prescription.
    Overall, 85% of the GP respondents want online pharmacies to be more tightly regulated.

    The Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain has estimated that two million Britons regularly buy drugs over the internet, a figure which is thought to be on the rise.

    This includes those who purchase medicines prescribed by their doctor from a legitimate online pharmacy.

    But it is common for illegal internet pharmacies to promote "lifestyle" medicines, such as those for erectile dysfunction, slimming pills, hair-loss treatments, and anti-depressants.

    Medicines regulators said these drugs are in high demand due to the perceived "embarrassment" factor and the fact that a GP may not prescribe them to the particular patient for one reason or another.

    The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency said increasingly people are purchasing drugs that may not be available via the NHS due to cost-restrictions.

    Experts warn medicines bought on the internet may be counterfeit

    Dr Sarah Jarvis, a GP in west London and spokeswoman for the Royal College of GPs, said: "Surveys looking at many online medications suggest that the proportion of counterfeits is enormously high and that many of them contain very worrying ingredients."

    Dr Bill Beeby, prescribing lead for the British Medical Association's GPs committee, said he would not advise any of his patients to buy medicines online.

    "When it comes to buying drugs on the internet, it is a minefield. People just don't know what they'd be getting."

    The Royal Pharmaceutical Society runs a logo scheme for people to identify legitimate online pharmacies and they are also launching an awareness campaign through pharmacies to warn people of the dangers of counterfeit traders.

    David Pruce, director of policy at the society advised only purchasing drugs from an internet site connected to a "bricks and mortar" pharmacy.
    He added: "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."

    The MHRA, which supports the logo scheme, can only regulate sites operating in the UK but said tackling the illegal sale of medicines online was a "priority".

    "Only healthcare professionals can take into account risks and benefits associated with every medicine," a spokesman said.

    "Anyone who self medicates and buys their medicines from internet sites could be in danger of receiving counterfeit or substandard medicines.

    "At best these will be a waste of money, at worst they can kill."

    By BBC News, 16th April 2009
    Original Source:

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  1. Greenport
    420 doctors eh? ;)
  2. DopinDan
    The above quotes are opinion, and not fact, in SWIMs experience.

    Often doctors just basically experiment on patients with drugs, seeing how well they work, and switching out different drugs. What some doctors may have is more experience with a particular drug, and be in a better position to help the patient reduce harm, but it's not like doctors and big pharma must have a monopoly on knowledge of drugs, as is the western model.

    Sounds like the vested interests of the pharmaceutical industry are threatened by cheaper imported drugs.

    AFOAF, has bought pharmaceuticals off internet sites, and got name brand in the foil, so there's no more risk with these, than getting them from a pharmacy in country, so "At best these will be a waste of money, at worst they can kill." is a load of crap.

    If they are genuinely worried about ""Anyone who self medicates and buys their medicines from internet sites could be in danger of receiving counterfeit or substandard medicines." they should make medications more available, and cheaper, along with educating those that need said medications on how to reduce harm they might do to said individuals.

    "He added: "It is never a good idea to take a prescription medicine without a valid prescription." Why is it never a good idea? Cause The State will take possession of your body and, and lock you away if you defy them, or because they care about you?

    In SWIMs opinion the risk of drugs is increased due to lack of information toward harm reduction, purely prohibitionist legislation aimed at making sure big pharma can charge top dollar through elimination of competition, and propaganda instead of honest information and choices.
  3. ConcertaXL
    Exactly dopindan, shame i cant give rep at the moment for some reason: the State have no right to control what goes into our bodies and the majority of RX drugs purchased on the internet are in fact genuine. It is a great way to rebel against an institution which incorrectly believes it has the right to decide how YOU treat YOUR health problems.
    This could stop if we dropped the POM system and had only two classes of medicines: GSL, generally safe and effective and legal to be sold anywhere and P- sold under a pharmacist's supervision and they can ask questions and counsel you, but the onus would be on you to research what chemicals you are putting in your system. This would be a good start, before we drop the controlled drugs prohibition system which would currently require massive damage to international relations.
    This exists in Turkey and Cyprus- drugs such as oxycontin, xanax and ritalin are prescription only but clozapine, isotretinoin, all antibiotics, all psychiatric meds and anti depressants, potent steroids, HIV meds and cancer treatmentsd can be bought over the counter in pharmacies.
  4. former
    even the lowly GP doesn't want any competition. What else do you expect them to say? Medicine is business even at the lowest echelon. Meaning your GP.
  5. honourableone
    I agree with what is being said. GPs don't really do much to discourage self-medication; if they cared enough and gave out prescriptions at a realistic rate, rather than being incredibly conservative, there would be less need for seld-medication. Pain meds are the most obvious thing here, but it applies to many other non-recreational drugs as well, and when a prescription is given it is often at an incredibly weak level so the patient has to keep going back time and time again to get the care they need.

    There is a horribly dishonest system built around how pretentious some GPs can be, for real medical problems SWIM has had to overtly display his intelligence and understanding in order to find out what was really going on, and feign a lack of it in order to try and get the needed medication without the GP thinking he wanted it for recreational purposes. It won't get us anywhere by just insulting GPs; some are very helpful and good at their jobs, but over all the health system has severe problems.

    SWIM suffered two years of extreme tiredness without GPs caring, and when he recently turned to self-medication he discovered that 50mg of modafinil was all he needed to avoid a nap in the afternoon (which is a very low dose; a quarter of a tablet). The GPs knew that SWIM was otherwise healthy because they had many tests to refer to, but they essentially said that the tiredness was a mystery and sent SWIM home to carry on how he was.
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