Intended for healthcare professionals


More than half of drugs sold online are fake or substandard

BMJ 2008; 337 doi: (Published 02 July 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;337:a618
  1. Susan Mayor
  1. 1London

    More than 60% of drugs sold by online pharmacies are counterfeit or substandard, a report published today says.

    Researchers from the European Alliance for Access to Safe Medicines ordered a range of prescription only drugs from 100 websites. The online pharmacies were chosen on the basis of factors likely to appeal to the general public, such as good use of English, apparent access to a pharmacist, and provision of a phone contact.

    Their analysis showed that 62% of the drugs bought online were substandard or counterfeit and that only 38% were genuine branded drugs. Moreover, 16% of the branded drugs were illegal imports from outside the European Union, and 33% had no information leaflet in the pack delivered to the …

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