Online shopping is growing at a rapid pace as consumers seek convenience and retailers and suppliers seek more cost-effective business practices. Pharmacies are highly active in the online shopping industry which provides convenience to many shoppers. But when it comes to buying medicine online, consumers should be aware of regulations and warnings and follow Government advice and guidelines.
In Australia, medicines and other medical and health products and equipment, known as therapeutic goods, are regulated by the TGA – Therapeutic Goods Administration www.tga.gov.auThe TGA comes under the Australian Government Department of Health and is tasked with assessing and monitoring to ensure that the therapeutic goods which are available for sale and use in Australia are of an acceptable standard.
If you are purchasing medicine online or in a store, you should be checking that it has been approved by the TGA.
The overriding message from Australian authorities is, if you are buying medical devices and medicines online, you should be buying from Australian companies and websites.
The risk include:
To fully understand the risks, the TGA has provided an informative video https://www.tga.gov.au/buying-medicines-and-medical-devices-online
The Pharmacy Guild of Australia which is the representative body for pharmacists also provides a fact sheet covering the risks https://www.guild.org.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0018/5661/risk-of-buying-medicines-online-.pdf
In some cases, buying medicines online from websites can offer consumers both convenience and cost-savings but you need to be well-informed.
The Australian Government Department of Health provides very informative websites which will answer many of your questions https://www.nps.org.au/consumers/buying-medicines-over-the-internet and https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/buying-medicines-online
While you may want the convenience of buying your medicines online, you need to consider why not all medicines are available online. Many are prescription-only, and purchased only through a pharmacy when you present the prescription from your doctor. This is for patient safety. A doctor will assess the interaction of each medicine with other medicines you are taking and will advise you and consider, any side effects of individual medicines.
If you do want or need to purchase medicines, treatments and medical devices online, authorities advise:
As with all online purchases, follow advisories to ensure your credit card, identity and other aspects are protected.