7 August 2018

Companies Using Legal Loopholes to Bypass Inspection 'Putting Patient Safety at Risk', Says RCGP

Commenting on a BBC Panorama investigation into websites providing primary care services, due to be broadcast this evening, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: "It's deeply concerning to hear reports of patients buying prescription medication from unverified online providers with minimal security checks, or from websites whereby the prescribers involved don't have access to their full medical records when prescribing potentially dangerous medications.

"GPs are expert medical generalists who are highly-trained to prescribe medication based on the unique physical, psychological and social factors of the patient sitting in front of them, so without this, or adequate safeguards in place, the safety of our patients is put at serious risk.

"The College welcomed the Care Quality Commission's decision to start regulating online providers of primary care services in the UK, in the interests of ensuring they are safe for patients. We were incredibly concerned to hear reports that some companies are using legal loopholes, by registering their companies abroad, to bypass CQC inspections. Put simply, these services are putting our patients' safety at risk.

"We understand that online pharmacies might appear convenient to some patients, and if a patient chooses to use an online service as their preferred dispensary with a prescription from a healthcare professional, then they should be able to do so – but safely."

Further Information
RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7574/7575/7633/7410
Out of hours: 0203 188 7659

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 52,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.