Buying medicines safely online

Getting medicines from online pharmacies: advice for patients and the public

All pharmacies in Great Britain, including pharmacies providing services online, must be registered with the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC).

We recommend you only use legitimate online pharmacies registered with the GPhC when going online for medicines. This will help to make sure the medicines and other pharmacy services you receive are safe and effective for you.

Online pharmacy owners have to meet our standards for registered pharmacies and follow our guidance on providing pharmacy services at a distance, including on the internet. We inspect all registered pharmacies to check this is happening, and take action if they are not meeting our standards.

Read the updated guidance in Welsh

How to make sure you use an online pharmacy registered with the GPhC

  • Check that the online pharmacy website says it is registered with the GPhC on its homepage or ‘About us’ page and gives its registration number. Then visit: www.pharmacyregulation.org/registers/pharmacy to check the pharmacy is on the pharmacy register.
  • You might also see this logo which should also click through to the pharmacy register on our website: 

  • Expect to be asked questions about your health and identity before being able to buy a medicine and answer them honestly. This will help the health professionals supplying the medicine to make sure it is safe and appropriate for you
  • Avoid websites which offer to supply prescription-only medicines without a prescription; you could put your health at serious risk
  • If you are being prescribed a medicine by an online prescribing service linked to the online pharmacy, check the prescribing service is registered with the appropriate regulator such as the Care Quality Commission (CQC), Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS) or the Health Inspectorate Wales (HIW).
  • You should also look out for the Distance Selling logo which any website selling medicines in Great Britain must display (even if they are not a registered pharmacy and only sell medicines you can buy off the shelf)

Raising Concerns

If you have concerns about a pharmacy or pharmacist registered in Great Britain, please complete our concerns form.

If you have concerns about a website that is supplying medicines and the website is not operated by a registered pharmacy premises in Great Britain, please contact the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) on 0203 080 6000 or report the website to the MHRA.