When buying medicines online remember, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
With the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) continuing to issue alerts about medicines available on the internet, NPS MedicineWise recommends checking up on the online provider to prevent risking your health, wallet and even prosecution.
NPS MedicineWise CEO Mr Steve Morris says it may be tempting to self-diagnose and order medicines online, but this can be a dangerous practice.
“The risk with buying medicines online is your self-diagnosis may be wrong, the medicine you purchase may not be suitable for you, and it might interact with other medicines you may already be taking,” said Mr Morris.
“Of course, many websites selling medicines are legitimate businesses. However, many others are not legitimate and are selling out-of-date, poor quality, contaminated or even fake medicines that put your health at risk,” he said.
It is illegal to import certain medicines into Australia by mail. If you do order them and your parcel is intercepted, you will lose your money, and may even face prosecution.
“If you are thinking about buying medicines online, there are some questions you can consider to minimise the risk,” says Mr Morris.
“These questions could include, does the online provider have an Australian web address, does the site provide prescription medicines without requiring a valid prescription, and are the health claims made too good to be true.
“In general, if you are considering taking a new medicine, including a complementary medicine, or buying a prescribed medicine online, see your health professional. They can give you the best advice on your health concerns, and provide a proper diagnosis and suitable treatment if needed,” he said.
NPS MedicineWise has created some information for people considering buying medicines over the internet.
For more information on prescription, over-the-counter and complementary medicines (herbal, ‘natural’, vitamins and minerals) from a health professional, call NPS Medicines Line on 1300 MEDICINE (1300 633 424) for the cost of a local call (calls from mobiles may cost more). Hours of operation are Monday–Friday 9am–5pm AEST (excluding public holidays).
Spokespeople are available for media interviews.