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Feb-19-2019 12:13printcomments

Online or Mail Order Pharmacy in the U.K: Everything You Should Know

First tip: Only shop from an MHRA-registered online pharmacy

online pharmacy
Photo: bruce mars, Pexels

(SALEM, Ore.) - An online pharmacy, often referred to as mail-order pharmacy is one that operates over the Internet. They deliver orders of customers via the mail or a shipping company. The popularity of this method of getting prescriptions has been growing not only in the United Kingdom but in other parts of the world.

The primary difference between a mail-order pharmacy and one found within bricks is the method by which the medications are requested and received.

Online pharmacies are considered more convenient by many because it fundamentally removes the need for traveling to a drugstore.

The history of online pharmacies in the U.K. dates back to 1999, with the first online pharmacy being Pharmacy2U. Two decades later, this sub-sector in the U.K. is one of the biggest in the world, with more than 2 million residents of the U.K. buying drugs regularly via online pharmacies.

Online pharmacies can either operate as an extension of a stationary pharmacy, hospital, or as an independent entity. One thing in common to all, they offer a more convenient way for patients to order prescriptions. Are online pharmacies legal? Are they safe? These are questions answered in this article.

Are Online or Mail Order Pharmacies Legal?

In the United Kingdom, it is legal for you to buy prescriptions through an online or mail order pharmacy. The pharmacy has to be registered by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and the National Health Service (NHS) to operate legally in the U.K.

The registry maintained by MHRA also includes community drugstores. In July 2015, the MHRA required that all registered online drugstores adopt an EU wide logo and keep an entry in the MHRA medicines sellers’ registry. Every MHRA-registered online pharmacy has to display the Distance Selling Logo on its web page.

While it is legal for online pharmacies to operate in the U.K., buying a controlled substance without a valid prescription may be punishable by imprisonment under Federal law. Often drugs ordered from rogue websites come from foreign countries.

Is it Safe to Buy Drugs Online?

Buying medications from an online pharmacy will be safe only if done rightly. To buy safely, you must always buy from an online pharmacy that has been registered by the MHRA.

If a mail-order pharmacy has been registered, you can trust that it would sell only genuine drugs as would community drug stores.

Are there Online Pharmacies in the U.K. that Can Be Trusted?

Yes. Although there are many unregistered pharmacies selling medicines over the internet, there are also many registered online pharmacies which you can shop at. If you are in the U.K., you can buy medication from the following MHRA-registered online drug stores.


If there is an online pharmacy “most trusted” in the United Kingdom, Pharmica is that pharmacy. This online pharmacy has built a strong reputation for itself through its exemplary services. Pharmica is registered and adheres fully to the regulations of the MHRA and NHS, and also has a stationary pharmacy in London.

Pharmica offers a good number of treatments options and medications on its website. An added advantage is the free consultancy services provided on the website by qualified medical practitioners.

Express pharmacy

This another UK based online pharmacy you can trust. Express pharmacy works with a team of fully qualified NHS pharmacists who are qualified to prescribe and dispense drugs. This online pharmacy also offers a free online medical questionnaire to determine whether or not your selected treatment is suitable for you.


Pharmacy2U has grown from being the pioneer online pharmacy in the U.K. to be one of the biggest in the world at large. This online pharmacy offers excellent services with almost free delivery. Pharmacy2U is an NHS-registered pharmacy.


MedExpress is an online pharmacy known for providing medical assistance as an NHS-registered pharmacy; with all discretion and confidentiality. With medical assistance, it also provides for ease in getting prescriptions also using three steps to ensure the safety of patients.

Tips to Buy Prescriptions from an Online Pharmacy

There are currently more unregistered online pharmacies as there are registered online pharmacies.

While the registered online pharmacy websites that offer convenience, privacy, and safeguards for purchasing medicines, rogue online pharmacies do not place your safety as a priority.

Purchasing a prescription from a rogue online pharmacy can be dangerous, sometimes even deadly. They often sell counterfeit drugs which are fakes of the approved drugs and are mostly considered unsafe and ineffective when used. Sometimes, these drugs may be less effective or have undesired side effects.

Furthermore, an unregistered online pharmacy may put your personal and financial information provided during a purchase at risk. Some intentionally misuse the information you provide sending spam emails without your approval.

These websites could also infect your computer with viruses. There have also been cases where the personal information of individuals is sold on the black web.

How do You Know a Rogue Online Pharmacy?

Spotting a rogue online pharmacy should not take long. You can know if a mail order pharmacy is operating out of regulation if it does any of the following.

  • Sells prescription drugs without requiring a prescription or having you conduct a consultancy first.
  • Sell medicines without confirming your identity and having you register on their website.
  • Provides no physical address.
  • Provides no contact information of the General Practitioners (GPs), specialists, or pharmacists affiliated with the pharmacy.
  • No Distance Selling logo on the website.
  • To confirm that an online pharmacy is registered by the MHRA, the best option is to check the MHRA registry. If after searching for the name of the pharmacy and it doesn’t show.


The services of registered mail-order pharmacies are somewhat the same with what you would typically get from stationary pharmacies. However, this only applies to registered online pharmacies. So, when you want to shop for drugs on the internet, make sure it is from an MHRA-registered online pharmacy.

Source: Special Features Dept.


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