Is the UK a Safer Alternative and How Does the MHRA Compare to the FDA?

Jun 10


Arslan Jahanzaib

Arslan Jahanzaib

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Buying prescription drugs online can be a confusing and even worrying experience, especially when one considers the extensive and regular reports acro...


Buying prescription drugs online can be a confusing and even worrying experience,Is the UK a Safer Alternative and How Does the MHRA Compare to the FDA? Articles especially when one considers the extensive and regular reports across the press and media casting serious doubts on the safety of the drugs that every day Americans buy from a large number of online pharmacy groups. Late last year we heard a great deal about Canadian pharmacy chains, in particular, Canada Pharmacy, an online pharmacy shown to be selling counterfeit Avastin. More recently, we’ve learnt about a number of overseas on line pharmacies, including an online pharmacy chain from Thailand selling drugs without prescriptions. Despite being required by law, this is a very dangerous and irresponsible act, especially in light of a focus in the US on the rise in the abuse of prescription drugs.

The World Health Organisation has estimated that in the region of 25% of prescription drugs consumed in poorer countries are counterfeit or substandard and our own National Association of Boards of Pharmacy states that around one to two per cent of prescription drugs sold in the US are fake. This may perhaps seem only a small number, but is in fact very significant when considering that of the four billion prescriptions dispensed each year, 4 million of these contain no, or an insignificant level of active ingredient, or contain useless or toxic fillers.

So the US prescription drugs supply chain is not without its flaws. Third world and second world sources seem very unreliable in many cases. So where should US citizens buy their prescription drugs online from in confidence? As well as offering cost advantages in many cases, the UK pharmaceutical supply chain should be regarded as one of the safest in the world and one that US citizens should investigate a little further.

Buy prescription drugs online from UK pharmacies and you can find a much safer alternative, as all UK pharmacies are regulated and traceable through two organisations, both of which allow you as the consumer to search for their name to confirm their genuine nature. Firstly, very much like our own FDA, the UK’s counterpart is the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (M.H.R.A) and is responsible for the authorisation, granting, renewal, variation, suspension and revocation of licenses, certificates, or other regulatory mechanisms relating to those medicinal products and medical devices for human use which are clinically investigated, marketed, manufactured, or assembled in the UK. The MHRA works very closely with our own FDA which is authorized to disclose otherwise non-public information regarding FDA-regulated products as part of a cooperative law enforcement or cooperative regulatory activities. Both the FDA and MHRA state that from time to time, circumstances will arise whereby information held by one authority will assist the other in conducting its regulator functions in relation to medical devices or of ensuring the safety, quality and efficacy of medicinal products for human use. So in other words, the ‘special relationship’ that can be witnessed across other departments in both countries is very apparent in the case of pharmaceutical goods. But a very significant advantage of the UK prescription drugs supply chain is that, in addition to the MHRA, all UK pharmacies, including all on line pharmacy chains, are also regulated by an independent body, the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC). The GPhC is the UK’s independent regulator for pharmacies, pharmacy technicians and pharmacy premises in Great Britain and it upholds standards and public trust in pharmacies through; the approval of qualifications for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians; through maintaining a regular register of pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and pharmacy premises; setting standards for conduct, ethics, proficiency education and training; establishing and promoting standards for safe and effective practice of pharmacy at registered pharmacies; and establishing fitness to practice requirements, monitoring pharmacy professionals’ fitness to practice and dealing fairly and proportionately with complaints and concerns.

As a US consumer of prescription drugs, buying prescription drugs online from UK pharmacies is a very safe alternative to other on line pharmacy chains in other countries, including Canadian pharmacy chains such as Canada Pharmacy. According to the MHRA, the UK is not typically a manufacturer of counterfeit prescription drugs, but can be a transit point and end user market. But, there have only been 10 recalls of counterfeit medicines in the UK since 2004, with a further seven cases discovered at wholesaler level, before reaching the market. So one can deduct that the UK, in comparison to other countries, including the US, boasts a very robust pharmaceutical supply chain, with the chances of sourcing counterfeit drugs from pharmacies registered with the MHRA and GPhC being very slim indeed. To ensure that the online pharmacy in question is bona fide, search for the name of the pharmacy used by the website. This may not necessarily be the name of the website, which in many cases might be trading names. Visit both the MHRA and GPhC websites and use the search facility to confirm details of the pharmacy.