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BMJ 1999; 319 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.319.7224.1586 (Published 11 December 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;319:1586

Britain's first internet pharmacy opened last month (www.pharmacy2u.co.uk) and is now dispensing private prescriptions and taking orders for over the counter medicines. The Royal Pharmaceutical Society gives it a cautious welcome but has yet to update its code of ethics, which says that pharmacists should make face to face to contact with customers before supplying medicines. Pharmacy2u's customers have to submit an online questionnaire, which is screened by a pharmacist before drugs are dispensed. The actual prescription goes by post.

Being well informed about melanomas does not make people present any earlier with suspicious moles, according to a survey in the British Journal of Dermatology (1999;141:783-7). Treatment was delayed for a year or more in a quarter of patients, and knowledge of the disease made no impact on the delay. People whose lesions were spotted by others sought treatment faster than people who noticed their own lesions. Doctors made the wrong diagnosis initially in 18% of respondents.

Are you worried about the private finance initiative, corruption in high places, medicine's takeover by managerialism, and what you might get for Christmas? If so, ask your friends to buy you Quite Ugly One Morning by Christopher Brookmyre (Abacus; ISBN 0 349 …

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