I wrote in a previous blog (No. 120) about my concerns over how easy it is to purchase prescription medications online in the UK. This ease of purchase nearly killed me, and is a constant threat to my future well being. Indeed as previously stated, I wrote to the Prime Minister.
My concerns have gained some momentum. I recieved the following email today.
Dear Doctor ———–,
My name is ———– and I am the Senior Policy Adviser on the Enforcement Group at the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) – we are the Government regulator responsible for medicines and medical devices, an Agency of the Department of Health and Social Care.
I am contacting you in relation to you letter of 30th September concerning purchasing medicines online. I am sorry to learn of your distress and hope that I can at least offer some assistance and support.
The digital healthcare area is complex and straddles regulatory boundaries – there are areas of concern within Government and I have been working with other regulators – the Care Quality Commission (regulators of healthcare services), the General Pharmaceutical Council (regulators of pharmacists and pharmacies), the General Medical Council (for doctors registration) and our counterparts in the Devolved Administrations. Sadly, yours is not the first nor only example of supply of Controlled Drugs / Prescription only medicines in this way. This presents significant risks to patient safety and we are reviewing the legislative framework in UK and importantly, identifying the gaps. In order to investigate this, I would be grateful for additional information;
As Zopiclone requires a prescription, did you have one and submitted that, or were you offered an online consultation with a doctor through the website and the medicine was prescribed remotely?
Please provide the names / links to the sites.
Many of the points you raise are the responsibility of the General Pharmaceutical Council – as above, GPhC is responsible for activities in a registered pharmacy and, as I want to ensure you receive a full explanation and action can be taken, I need to contact GPhC and also alert the Care Quality Commission and General Medical Council. I wanted to check with you that I can share information with them. I wish to thank you for raising your justifiable concerns on this matter and I look forward to receiving your reply.
I’m not going to let this go. Companies will be named and shamed. I worry for the safety of my future self and the safety of others with similar mental health demons.