Pharmacists have come out in force this week to advise members of the public not to purchase prescription drugs online.
Members of the Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU) have warned the public that they may be putting their health at serious risk if they buy prescribed medicines online or from unauthorised sources.
The Union said there was no way of knowing whether the medicines - purchased online - were counterfeit or genuine and counterfeit medication was not produced to appropriate standards.
The results, they say, could be detrimental to patients as the drugs could contain either too much, too little or none of the active ingredients required for effective treatment. Furthermore, these drugs could also contain ingredients that pose a serious risk to a person’s health.
Longford pharmacist, Padraig Loughrey told the Leader that it was risky buying medication online because the drugs were not checked by the relevant authorities.
“The medication is not checked by doctors or pharmacists or by the various bodies that govern medication in the first instance,” continued Mr Loughrey who runs a pharmacy in Longford town and another in Drumlish.
“With regards to the online purchase of medication, nobody knows what’s actually in the products and while we all have a role to play in the health of our nation, doctors and pharmacists are professionally qualified to ensure that the highest standard of medication is dispensed in this country.”
The local pharmacist went on to say that onerous criteria was necessary to pass medication in Ireland, criteria, he added, that was simply non existent online.
Meanwhile, the IPU insists that patients must consult face-to-face with their pharmacist or doctor before taking prescription medicines.
“Pharmacists are medicines experts and are available for consultation, in confidence, without an appointment,” an IPU spokesperson added.
“Before dispensing any medication to a patient, a pharmacist will carry out a number of safety checks including the suitability of the medication for the patient, any possible drug interactions or incorrect dosage to ensure that the medication is safe for the patient to take and it should also be noted that pharmacists purchase medicines from authorised suppliers operating in the legal supply chain.”