A report from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has recommended that caution be exercised by those considering buying medicines over the internet.
The regulator has carried out several inspections of companies that provide online primary care, revealing significant concerns about their patient safety standards, specifically in terms of the sale of medicines without checking whether they were appropriate.
“The Care Quality Commission has raised a number of patient safety concerns regarding companies providing online primary care in the UK.“
Although well-run services can offer a convenient and effective form of treatment, others are providing medication without performing any rigorous identity checks or contacting the patient's GP, while offering little assurances that clinicians had relevant skills or qualifications.
In response, the CQC has issued a joint statement alongside the General Medical Council, the General Pharmaceutical Council, and the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency to remind providers and healthcare professionals working for these services that they must provide safe and effective care in accordance with industry guidelines.
Professor Steve Field, chief inspector of general practice at the CQC, said: "As with conventional GP surgeries, these online companies and pharmacies are required to provide safe, high-quality and compassionate care and must adhere to exactly the same standards. They must not cut corners."
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