UK driver woes hit pharmacies, raising risk of online buying

The current driver shortage in the UK is affecting deliveries to pharmacies, raising concerns that people may resort to purchasing online and be placed at risk of exposure to falsified medicines.

According to Martin Preston of addiction recovery centre Delamere, if disruption leads to shortages there is a risk that patients who have been prescribed medicines like codeine, morphine, diazepam and tramadol will turn to other, riskier sources.

The National Pharmacists Association (NPA) has reported that deliveries have already been reduced, urging pharmacies to work together to avoid shortages.

Recent research by Delamere fund that one in 10 UK residents had overused prescription medication, and 7 per cent had bought drugs via the dark web. Men aged between 25-35 were found to be the most likely group to use the dark web, with 16 per cent admitting to this compared to just 1 per cent of the over-55 age group.

Most of those people are seeking out drugs without a prescription, but Delamere fears the current crisis – now exacerbated by petrol shortages – could change behaviours among those prescribed medicines for legitimate medical reasons.

"Prescription drugs are highly regulated; for good reason. When the regulation is observed there are strict controls around how medications are produced, kept, prescribed and distributed," said Preston.

"Acquiring mediation illegally via sources like the dark web is dangerous because there is no way of knowing whether the medication has been substituted with something else that might cause dangerous side effects," he added. "It's no safer than buying street drugs."

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