A campaign to warn against purchasing or using medicines or devices from unauthorised sources has been relaunched.
The fake medicines campaign from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has ten tips to help the public decide whether making an online purchase is safe and appropriate.
Among the points being made are:
- legitimate websites should have the EU distance-selling logo with a live link to the appropriate regulatory authority for medicines and devices selling;
- medical devices should bear the CE mark;
- look for the small padlock symbol on the URL/address bar to indicate that information is being encrypted, reducing the likelihood of payment or user identity details being stolen;
- do not self-diagnose;
- beware of websites that have been poorly or hastily constructed, or that have poor design, pop-ups, spelling and grammar errors which may indicate poor translation; treat comments and reviews with caution, but they may give some indication as to legitimacy of the business.
The MHRA is also asking for people to report any website that they suspect is selling fakes or if they think they have bought a fake medicine or medical device.
It is also saying the Yellow Card reporting scheme for counterfeit products can be used by anyone who thinks they have experienced:
- side effects from a suspected fake medicine;
- an unexpected or unwelcome consequence by using a suspected fake medical device.