Scottish team warns about Internet pharmacies

A report from Scotland's Edinburgh University has identified a large number of websites which offer prescription drugs to UK residents without making proper checks to ensure that the person ordering the medicines has a prescription.

46 per cent of the sites offered powerful prescription-only painkillers such as tramadol, naproxen, celecoxib and even the withdrawn product Co-proxamol (paracetamol and dextropropoxyphene) to customers without asking for a prescription. More than three-quarters did not require a prescription, and less than half provided an online health screen to assess whether the mediciation was suitable for a patient.

Aside from the risks of patients receiving inappropriate medications, the practice raises the risk of exposure to counterfeit medicines. However, as the team did not proceed with the online purchases, it was unable to establish whether the products on offer were genuine or counterfeits.

The results are published on the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology website.

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