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Wheelie good idea in online danger campaign

The campaign raising awareness of the dangers of buying drugs online went mobile this week. No, not your phone, but on the side of Alliance Healthcare's pharmacy distribution vehicles.

Alliance Healthcare back Get Real campaignAlliance Healthcare joins a formidable list of long established partners already supporting drug company Pfizer's 'Get Real, Get a Prescription' initiative including the MHF, Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS), Patients’ Association and HEART UK. The campaign aims to highlight the potential dangers of bypassing the healthcare system to purchase medicines online from unregulated sources.

Posters will be displayed on the side of 100 Alliance Healthcare vans for a year from March 2012. They alert Alliance Healthcare customers and the UK public to the potential perils of purchasing prescription-only medicines online, from unregulated sources. The message is that people should always seek advice and support from a pharmacist or GP and purchase medicines from licensed pharmacies rather than turning to unregulated online channels to buy potentially fake medicine.

MHF CEO Peter Baker said: 'Bypassing the healthcare system and purchasing medicines from unregulated sites means patients forego a proper diagnosis, as well as the additional checks and benefits of seeing a healthcare professional, such as routine assessment and monitoring. '

It is estimated by the World Health Organisation that over 50% of medicines purchased over the internet (from illegal sites that conceal their physical address) are counterfeit. In a YouGov survey, more than one in seven British adults surveyed admitted to buying medicines this way and do so because they think they are getting cheaper drugs and faster delivery. In reality, counterfeit medicines can put health and potentially lives at risk.

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Mark Stephenson, Commercial Healthcare Director, Alliance Healthcare said: 'Alliance Healthcare is pleased to be supporting this valuable and educational campaign reminding consumers of the dangers of purchasing medicines from illegal websites. They may look very professional but in fact often supply dangerous counterfeit products which can contain no active ingredient, the wrong ingredient or even toxic substances, posing a real risk to public health. As a leading distributor of pharmaceutical products, to licensed pharmacies, we hope the campaign messages on the sides of our vehicles will remind people of this fact.'

Paul Wilson, Commercial Account Director, Pfizer said: 'Pfizer is committed to patient safety and continues to remind the public of the risks associated with this behaviour. We’re pleased to be working with Alliance Healthcare as a distributor of legitimate medicines to UK pharmacies. We hope this campaign reminds patients to obtain their medicines from a registered pharmacy who are in a position to provide expert advice as needed. Pfizer continues to support the role of pharmacy through its ‘Pfizer Healthy Partnerships’ initiative which aims to assist pharmacists as frontline healthcare professionals.'

If you want to make purchases online safely, the General Pharmaceutical Council website provides links to legitimate pharmacy sites registered in the UK.

If you have any concerns, the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Authority (MHRA) is the medicines safety watchdog and has a dedicated 24 hour hotline: 0203 080 6701 or email address.

Page created on March 26th, 2012

Page updated on March 26th, 2012