Buying prescription medicines on the Internet may be easily done, but the Irish Medicines Board (IMB) advises there are serious concerns for the safety of persons who purchase prescription medicines in this manner.
Supply of prescription medicines via the Internet is illegal and in contravention of Irish legislation. It has been found that unscrupulous suppliers, posing as respectable and authorised pharmacies, engage in this business. Many of these conceal their true identities and have no actual physical address or contact persons. Money and profit is their focus and not healthcare. The World Health Organisation has found that half of all websites concealing their true identity also supply counterfeit medicines.
No Internet pharmacy website has been authorised to operate in Ireland. The quality, safety and efficacy of the medicines supplied from such websites cannot be guaranteed. There is no way for the purchaser of knowing where the website is based, from where it sources the medicines, or the quality, safety or effectiveness of the medicines supplied. Often, products have been found to be supplied in envelopes or clear plastic bags. Some are labeled in languages other than in Irish or English. There can be no knowledge of where the medicines are manufactured or any information on the quality of the manufacturing.
People who “self-medicate” by purchasing prescription medicines on the web without consulting a doctor risk being sold medicines that are not safe or suitable for them. A serious health condition may go unrecognised and, therefore, untreated or mistreated.
Medicinal products sold and dispensed in Ireland are regulated by the Irish Medicines Board. The retail pharmacies that dispense prescription medicines are regulated by the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland. The role of the Irish Medicines Board is to ensure, insofar as is possible, consistent with current medical and scientific knowledge, the quality, safety and efficacy of medicines available in Ireland and to fully participate in systems designed to do that throughout the European Union.
Revenue and Customs Officers are responsible for monitoring all importations into Ireland. This includes the regular monitoring of small packets sent through the mail or via courier companies. The IMB cooperates with the Revenue and Customs Service in relation to illegally supplied mail ordered medicines. These products will be detained on detection and will not be supplied to the purchaser. The Internet supplier will not likely refund the purchaser as it takes no responsibility for such detentions and the consumer is out of pocket with no recourse to compensation.
The IMB’s strong advice is not to buy prescription only medicines from Internet based websites no matter how professional or inexpensive they appear. Further information is available in our leaflet ‘The Dangers of Buying Medicines Online’
If you have any concerns or suspicions about the quality of products that have, in the past, been supplied to you, or others, by internet suppliers, contact details for the Enforcement Section are shown below The IMB welcomes any information that can help it in reducing the threat posed to the health of the public by such suppliers.
Irish Medicines Board | Bord Leigheasra na hÉireann
Kevin O’Malley House, Earlsfort Centre, Earlsfort Terrace, Dublin 2.
Tel: +353 1 634 3436
Fax: +353 1 634 4047
firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.imb.ie