Buying medicines safely online

Using online health services can help you to take control of your health by accessing care at a time that suits you. But it’s important that any medicine, treatment or health advice given is safe.

If you’re thinking of taking any medication, it’s important you do so under the care of a qualified health professional. Buying medicines online does carry risks. There are unregistered websites selling medicines that may not be genuine or haven’t been checked by a pharmacist. 

You need to take care when buying medicines online. It’s important that any medicine you buy is approved by a healthcare professional to make sure it’s suitable for you, it won’t cause you any harm and that the dosage is safe. 

two pharmacists holding medicines

Advice on buying medicines online

We’ve worked with other health organisations to develop a guide to help you keep safe when going online for medicines or treatment. 

The guide includes six top tips to help you make sure that what you’re buying is safe and right for you: 
  • Check if the online healthcare service and healthcare professionals working there are registered with UK regulators.
  • Ask questions about how the service works.
  • Answer questions honestly about your health and medical history.
  • Find out your options for treatment and how to take any medicines you’re prescribed.
  • Expect to be asked for consent for information to be shared with other healthcare professionals involved in your care.
  • Check what after-care you will receive.

Using online pharmacies

All pharmacies in Great Britain, including those providing services online, must be registered with us. We provide guidance to online pharmacies and inspect all registered pharmacies to check they meet our standards for safe and effective care. 

Using registered services will give you assurance you can trust the service you’re using. 

How to make sure you use a registered online pharmacy 

Check whether the pharmacy website you’re using is registered with us, the General Pharmaceutical Council, or you may see our abbreviation GPhC. This information is usually on the homepage or in the ‘About us’ section with their registration number. 

You can then visit our pharmacy register to check the pharmacy is registered with us. 

You might also see this logo which should link through to the pharmacy register on our website.

internet pharmacy logo