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Prescription Drugs: Internet

Volume 491: debated on Friday 24 April 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps his Department has taken to restrict the trade in pharmaceutical products from abroad purchased over the internet which could present risks to the health of individuals. (270682)

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) actively monitors the availability of medicines being offered on-line using specialist equipment and resources focused on identifying websites operating within the United Kingdom. Robust action is taken when illegal activity is detected.

Several initiatives are underway to communicate risks posed by on-line supply of medicines to consumers and potential customers, both by MHRA acting as regulator, or in conjunction with relevant organisations such as the Royal Pharmaceutical Society. These include national advertising campaigns with Industry and patient groups to raise awareness and specific articles targeting magazines focussing on slimming and men's health issues. Internet auction sites are also used as a means of communicating perceived risk.

Information on buying medicines on line is also available through the MHRA website at: