Pharmacists Warning – buying prescribed medicines online can be “deadly dangerous”

  • Many medicines purchased online are fake and have potentially lethal health consequences
  • No way of knowing if prescription medicines bought online are real or counterfeit
  • Public encouraged to seek advice before taking medicines                                                                                                          

28 June 2017: “Don’t take the risk” is the advice being issued today by pharmacists to people who are thinking about buying prescription medicines online or from an unauthorised source. Daragh Connolly, community pharmacist and President of the Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU), said that “buying medicines online is deadly dangerous. You don’t know what you are taking or what effect it might have on you.”

Mr Connolly said, “There is no quality control on medications you buy online and there is a strong chance they may be counterfeit. If they are counterfeit, they are not manufactured to the appropriate standards and they may not contain appropriate levels of the active ingredients, and, indeed, many contain ingredients that pose serious risk to your health.”

Seized counterfeit medicines have been found to contain rat poison, floor polish, paint thinner and boric acid, for example*.

Mr Connolly advised people that the only way to ensure that you are taking a genuine, safe product is to purchase it from an authorised source. He said that “your local pharmacist is an expert in medications. Before they hand over any medicine to a patient, they carry out a number of safety checks, as well as ensuring that the medication is suitable for the patient and there are no possible drug interactions that may pose a problem.

“Furthermore, pharmacists only buy medicines from authorised, legal suppliers which means that patients can be sure about the safety and effectiveness of medicines they buy directly from their pharmacy.”


Further information: Jim Curran, Director of Communications & Strategy, IPU, Ph: 086 2640 469