Royal Pharmaceutical Society and UK morning show Daybreak surveyed 2,500 UK pharmacists on fake online pharmacies. Results show counterfeit drugs and fake online pharmacies are a growing threat to patients in the United Kingdom as well as the United States.

A 2013 survey of pharmacists in the United Kingdom found that UK patients are exposing themselves to dangerous and possibly counterfeit medication by purchasing from unlicensed online pharmacies, report the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS). The survey, which received responses from 2,500 UK pharmacists, found that “80% of pharmacists questioned have seen examples of patients self-diagnosing and self-treating themselves via the internet,” half have seen patients who have bought drugs from a fake online pharmacy, and a third have noticed an increase in patients who are purchasing their medication from fake online pharmacies within the last few years. 99% feel patients who buy from fake online pharmacies are putting their lives at risk.

The joint survey, conducted by the RPS and ITV’s Daybreak, sought a pharmacist’s perspective on the growing threat of counterfeit medication in the United Kingdom. As part of their report on the survey, Daybreak resident physician, Dr. Hilary Jones, tried his hand at purchasing a banned pharmaceutical via the Internet. Dr. Jones found Tramadol, a highly addictive and restricted painkiller, for sale online in less than 3 minutes. He was able to buy what he termed a “lethal dose” of Tramadol with no prescription at all. When the package arrived, it came unlabeled, and included no descriptions of dosage, strength, or drug interactions/cautions.

When Daybreak spoke to Linda Scammell of the Medicines Healthcare Regulatory Agency (MHRA), she took Dr. Jones on a tour of the MHRA’s warehouse of confiscated drug shipments. Mr. Scammell showed Daybreak the wide variety of medicines being illegally shipped into the UK, from Casodex, a heart medication, to misoprostol, a drug used to stop post-partum hemorrhage. Both drugs require a doctor’s supervision, but had been shipped without prescription. Ms. Scammell explained the dangers with these illegally imported medications. “ They’re untested. We have no idea what effect they will have on anybody. There’s no guarantees of their quality or safety, and buying from an Internet site, there’s no guarantee what’s going to arrive.”

Don’t have false confidence in medication offered for sale from so-called tier one countries. Learn the truth about what you may end up with when buying drugs from a fake online pharmacy that offers medication from tier one countries such as the United Kingdom. Please read our resource on medicine importation to find the answer to the question “Are Tier One Countries Safe to Import Medicine From?

By S. Imber