Changes to Online Prescribing: What This Means For You
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Please note that from August 2nd 2019 we will no longer be able to supply the following medication online
- DF118 Forte
If you are concerned about gaining access to these medications we strongly recommend you contact your GP immediately. The information below is designed to give you a greater understanding of the forthcoming changes to online prescribing.
The way in which you order your medication online is changing. From the process in which you buy medicines, to the type of medicine you’re allowed to buy online, new safeguarding regulations brought in by the GPhC are changing the landscape of online pharmacies and online doctor services. The changes come into force as soon as July 31st 2019, so to prepare you for this we’re giving you everything you need to know about the future of online prescribing and how this affects you as a patient.
Why is online prescribing changing?
The growing concerns over opioid addiction have called for a reform of how online prescribers are protecting their patients from such risks. Addictions to prescription and over-the-counter opioids are growing at a fast rate in the UK. Opioid addiction has been a public health crisis in the US for decades, and the UK is soon to be following suit if something is not done about this issue imminently. Over the past decade, the number of opioid prescriptions in the UK has more than doubled to almost 24 million, and in this time the number of deaths caused by drug misuse has increased.
One of the ways health regulatory bodies such as CQC, GPhC and MHRA want to reduce opioid abuse is by clamping down on the sale of these drugs online. To do this, a number of changes to how medicine is prescribed online and what medicine you can purchase online are being put in place, not just for opioids but also for other categories of medicine such as antibiotics.
What are the changes I should know about?
The GPhC has introduced a number of safeguarding policies to further protect patients. Your online prescriber will put everything in place to ensure that these new regulations are met. All that is required from you is the completion of a few extra steps in the process of ordering medicine online which are for your security and safety.
Below are some of the changes which may affect how you use online prescription services in the future.
1. Consultation before medication
The order in which you have a consultation and choose your medication is changing. Consultations or medical questionnaires are in place to give our online doctors details about your condition, medical history, and any medicines you’re taking which may cause drug interactions or side effects. This is to ensure that the medicine we prescribe is suitable and safe for you.
However, new regulations put choosing your prescription back into the hands of the prescriber, meaning you won’t be able to select your medicine before you’ve had a consultation. Instead, for prescription-only medicines, you will firstly need to complete a consultation and then you will be presented with a choice of medicines with quantities and strengths that have been deemed suitable for you and your condition by our doctors.
This way patients aren’t given free will to choose any medicine, and the medical professional has more control over ensuring that ‘medicines are clinically appropriate for patients’ (according to GPhC safeguarding).
2.More robust identity and security checks
To crackdown on those who are attempting to abuse online pharmacies in order to obtain medicines, the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) wants stricter security procedures put in place to ensure that those who are requesting medicine are genuine. Identity checks are necessary to protect patients and the public from drug misuse.
Currently, Doctor-4-U already have strict security procedures in place which ensure that medicine is prescribed only for the intended user. We have a rigorous system that checks duplicate accounts made by the same person, this is to stop those trying to order dangerous amounts of medicines through multiple accounts. Our system automatically flags up patients that show signs of inappropriate medicine requests.
To make identity checks even more robust, patients will now be required to upload photographic ID for certain types of medicine.
3. Sharing information with your GP
For some medicines such as prescription-only medicines, and medicines that require ongoing monitoring, it will now be necessary to share details about your prescription with your GP. However, we will only go ahead with this with your consent. If you don’t consent to your prescription being shared with your GP this will mean that the medicines that are recommended to you will be limited, and we will put restrictions on strengths and amounts of certain medicines.
Do these changes apply to all medicines?
The main concerns are opiates and sedatives so you will find much stricter safeguarding around medicines such as codeine, co-codamol, and sleeping pills. Any medicines that are highly likely to be abused will be more difficult to access, but of course, if your order request is genuine and you have passed all security checks our process will make accessing your important medicine simple but safe.
Will these changes make it harder to access the medication I need?
Ordering medicine online is popular with a lot of people not only because it’s discreet, but also because it’s convenient as there’s no need to wait for a GP appointment, you can simply order at any time that suits you. However, you may be concerned about how these new changes may affect the convenience of online prescribing.
Firstly, these new regulations are being introduced to keep you safe, not to make the process more difficult. If you’re worried about how difficult it’s going to be getting your pain medication, for instance, you should get in touch with your GP, or visit our useful contacts page for a list of numbers for relevant services.
How are Doctor-4-U adapting to these new changes?
We’ve welcomed these new changes to safeguarding as we always put safety first when it comes to our service, and in light of these changes, we have a brand spanking new ordering system that is easy to use, fast, and meets all new regulations. Below you can see how our ordering process will look when the changes come into effect at the beginning of August:
2. Choose your condition
3. Some details about you
5. Medical questionnaire
6. Upload your photo
7. GP consent
We understand you may have concerns about accessing your medication after these changes take affect so please get in touch with our customer support team if we can help in any way. You can email them on firstname.lastname@example.org or use the online form here.