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GPhC Discussion Paper - Get Involved

Making sure patients and the public obtain medicines safely online. 

The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) are introducing new safeguarding proposals to protect those who wish to obtain medicines online, and they need your help. These medicines include opiates, antibiotics, and asthma inhalers.


The GPhC is the pharmacy regulator for Great Britain. They inspect community pharmacies, including online pharmacies, to check if they are meeting the standards it sets.

A discussion paper sets out how the GPhC plans to strengthen its guidance for the owners of online pharmacies, based in Great Britain, to ensure people can obtain medicines safely and effectively online. This discussion is open until 21 August 2018.

They plan to include the following points in their updated guidance:

1. Transparency and patient choice - ensuring that patients have enough information about the service and who is providing it to make an informed decision.

2. Making sure medicines are clinically appropriate for patients - considering the risks and benefits of allowing patients to choose a prescription-only medicine before a consultation with a prescriber has taken place.

3. Further safeguards for certain categories of prescription-only medicines - making sure the appropriate safeguards are in place for antimicrobials (antibiotics), opiates/sedatives, medicines for chronic conditions (including asthma and diabetes) and, non-surgical cosmetic medicinal products (such as Botox).

4. Regulatory oversight - making it clear that if a pharmacy owner decides to work with prescribers or prescribing services operating lawfully outside the UK, then they must successfully manage the additional risks that this may create.

Read the full discussion paper here.

Please share your views by 21 August 2018 - Complete the survey now.

You can find out more on the GPhC website, by following @TheGPhC on Twitter or at