Online pharmacies: What to look for?

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Whether it’s due to your illness or for speed and convenience you may have considered using an online pharmacy/chemist.

If you’re frequently filling prescriptions it becomes apparent that something in the system is lacking. You receive your prescription script and are told the medicines should be ready to collect in X amount of time. You turn up to the pharmacy and either it isn’t ready at all or parts are missing.

Even if you’re looking for a quick consult to acquire short-term medication you’re faced with waiting, which is tedious at the best of times, but worse when unwell. And if you want to speak to your GP sometimes you feel you need a bat signal of some sort.

So you ponder a little about what it might be like if you were able to order your medication online and have it delivered with the same kind of ease you already experience when ordering an obscure Belgian reggae album from Amazon.

While you’re pretty discerning about your taste in New wave Belgian reggae, buying medication online has a few more concerns attached to it. So how do you know you’re dealing with a reputable vendor and receiving quality medicine?

Regulation: Is the short answer. To take advantage of the ease of ordering medication online you first want to know you’re safe. If the organisation is registered with the appropriate regulators you can buy with peace of mind.

So if you’re going to buy medication online here are some things to look out for:

Based in the UK

Not an unimportant fact! You want them to be based and registered in the UK so you know you’re getting the same standard of care mandated by UK law. This way you get the same quality online as you would in a local chemist.

GPhC or the General pharmaceutical council

All pharmacies in Great Britain (including online) must be registered with the GPhC and adhere to their strict standards which ensure safe and effective practice.

Happily, they provide a logo verification system on the pharmacy site so with a couple of clicks you can be sure your purchasing safe medication from a regulated organisation.

CQC or the Care Quality Commission is another regulator your online pharmacist should be registered with. They too carry out inspections of online care providers to ensure your well-being. So check your pharmacist for their logo or alternatively check here. 

MHRA or Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency is a government agency that oversees all manner of medicines and regulates whether a company is indeed qualified and legally allowed to sell prescription medications. They have a simple tool to check who is registered which you can find here.

Pharmacists AND doctors

For a pharmacy you, of course, want pharmacists but you may also need to depend on the expertise of a doctor so a site that staffs both is always going to be more capable to meet your needs than one that doesn’t. Incidentally, the CQC is more effective at regulation when doctors are involved so it provides an extra level of security in oversight.


Lastly, the same rules of online shopping apply. How easy are they to contact and consult with? Do they offer options of online chat, phone and email?

How well do customers review them? Are they registered with Trustpilot?

And the ever important delivery services.

If you’re finding it difficult or just damned inconvenient to get the medication you need through your GP and local pharmacy why not try an online pharmacy that can meet these requirements The Independent Pharmacy.

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