It might seem OK to buy some drugs or medicines online because they come in medical packaging or are sold by an internet pharmacy, but there are some big risks if you buy online. Online pharmacies that are registered to sell in the UK are OK but others may not be. You should look for these registered pharmacy and verification logos*, and you can check whether online pharmacies or any other online healthcare services, including online doctors, are registered or here before using them.

Medicine bought from other sites might be fake but disguised as authentic medicines. The package might not contain the drug or the dose that it says it does. And each pill might contain much more of the active ingredient than it is supposed to or it might contain ingredients that are bad quality or poisonous. If they have not been properly checked they can pose a real risk to your health. For example, you might get something that’s been made to look like Xanax but which doesn’t actually contain any alprazolam (the active ingredient in Xanax) or with such a high dose of alprazolam that you could end up in hospital.

Ordering from these dodgy websites also puts your personal and financial information at risk. It might be collected and sold on to a criminal and used to take money from you or someone else. As for the legal position, buying online is no different to buying in person. Receiving an order from an overseas website would be treated in the same way as importing, which could carry a long prison sentence.