As the cost of prescriptions rises and waiting times increase in the NHS, more and more people are looking for ways to save time and money. Although there is a legal and growing online pharmacy market in the UK, there are also fraudulent websites posing as registered pharmacies.
To help explain what people can expect, Rich Quelch of pharmaceutical experts, Origin has provided some information.
He said: “Using a drug from a fake online pharmacy is potentially very dangerous, as the drugs may be expired, watered down, unapproved or fake.
“If you find a prescription drug for sale online without a prescription, it’s illegal.
“You will also never be asked to email a prescription to an online pharmacy as proof.
“Instead, it should be provided by a medical professional on your behalf.”
Britons should always check the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) online pharmacy logo, which guarantees that they are buying from a safe and genuine site.
They can also use the GPhC registry to check if a website is run by a registered pharmacy and is legally allowed to sell drugs.
He warned people not to be tempted by “spam advertising cheap drugs”.
He added: “If something seems too good to be true, it usually is.”
In England, the NHS prescription fee rose to £9.35 per prescription item in 2021 and is expected to rise again on April 1.
Combined with other changes being made such as higher energy bills and National Insurance, millions of Britons will be affected.
The government has yet to confirm by how much NHS prescription fees will increase on April 1.
However, recent research from Chemist4U shows that prescriptions have increased by an average of 2.35% year over year.
If this trend continues, people can expect the NHS prescription fee to drop from £9.35 to £9.57 from April, he explained.
Overall, over the past 10 years, Britons have seen their NHS prescription costs rise by 26.35%.
Research also suggests over-the-counter drugs could cost £13 by 2035.
In 2018/19, England raised £576million from prescription fees, or 0.5% of the NHS resource budget.
Mr Quelch explained that there has been speculation that on April 1 the government may make changes to the age threshold in which free prescriptions are offered to over-60s in England, rising from 60 to 66 years old.
This means that people between the ages of 60 and 65 will have to pay the full prescription fee if they do not meet the other eligibility criteria.
That’s around 2.4 million people who are expected to pay £9.35 or more for their prescriptions now.