PDA respond to GPhC’s consultation on safer online pharmacy services

The GPhC have proposed that online pharmacies will have to put in place new safeguards to protect people who want to obtain medicines online, including opiates, antibiotics, asthma inhalers and Botox.

Thu 27th September 2018 The PDA

From 26 June to 21 August 2018, the GPhC encouraged patients and the public to share their views on the proposals (read more).

The PDA generally support the GPhC’s proposals because we believe they will help make online services safer and more effective.

Our overarching recommendation was:

In order to help ensure the safety of patients and the public, any provisions made by the GPhC as a result of this consultation in relation to online pharmacy services and medicines supply must be set out in the form of enforceable requirements.

Our other recommendations included:

  • The GPhC must strengthen the requirements for verifying patient identity, to reduce the possibility of a person impersonating a patient or providing a false identity.
  • Patients and prescribers should have the option to request a video consultation if required, and it should be clear which online providers offer this service.
  • The GPhC should ensure that online pharmacy websites are accessible to patients with cognitive, sensory and learning difficulties by setting a minimum standard of accessibility.

In order for a patient to be able to choose a prescription-only medicine and its quantity before having a consultation with a prescriber, the PDA recommends that, in addition to legislative and regulatory requirements, at a minimum, the following conditions should be met:

  • The medicine must have been previously prescribed
  • The previous prescribing must be recent (considering the medicine itself), making the medicine suitable for repeat prescribing
  • The prescribing must not have been discontinued
  • It must not be available for selection if the patient is due for a review which could affect the prescribing of that medicine
  • The patient’s GP must be aware that the patient is taking the medicine and be informed again after each supply
  • Appropriate checks must be in place to verify the patient’s identity and that the person requesting the supply is the patient

Download the PDA’s full response here

thumbnail of GPhC Online Medicines FINAL v2 21-08-2018



thumbnail of discussion_paper_on_safe_online_pharmacy_june_2018_0

The Pharmacists' Defence Association is a company limited by guarantee. Registered in England; Company No 4746656.

The Pharmacists' Defence Association is an appointed representative in respect of insurance mediation activities only of
The Pharmacy Insurance Agency Limited which is registered in England and Wales under company number 2591975
and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (Register No 307063)

The PDA Union is recognised by the Certification Officer as an independent trade union.

Cookie Use

This website uses cookies to help us provide the best user experience. If you continue browsing you are giving your consent to our use of cookies.

General Guidance Resources Surveys PDA Campaigns Regulations Locums Indemnity Arrangements Pre-Regs & Students FAQs Coronavirus (COVID-19)