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Medicine expiry dates

Expiry date printed on a medicine pack

We are all familiar with ‘best-before’ and ‘use-by’ dates on food. Medicines are very similarly labelled.

If you look at the packet of your most recent medication, you will see stamped on it somewhere, an expiry date. But what does this expiry date really mean?

Although generally not recommended, we may sometimes choose to eat certain foods beyond their ‘best before’ date. But can we do the same with medicines?

Is it really necessary to throw away, and waste, unused medicines?

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Easier ways to take your Pill – new recommendations for 2019

Combined contraceptive pill packs

But have we really been doing it wrong for 60 years?

The press reported this week that since the contraceptive pill was first launched – and this was 60 years ago! – we have all been taking it incorrectly! They also stated that one of the reasons behind this was to please the Pope!

Let’s try and put this medical conundrum into understandable terms, and try to prevent confusion!

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Concerns over pharmacy websites not registered with the Care Quality Commission

Online doctors Uncovered - BBC Panorama

On Monday 6 August 2018 BBC Panorama aired an investigation into Online Doctors Uncovered which cited safety concerns over websites selling prescription drugs.

Professor Steve Field, chief inspector of general practice for the Care Quality Commission (CQC) [at the time of writing], has said:

You should look for the CQC logo because some of these websites, if they are not regulated by the CQC, can be very, very dangerous.

We know that these websites can present convenient ways for people to access advice, treatment and medication.

However some services may be putting patients at risk. We are particularly concerned that risks to patients may not always be appropriately assessed or managed when they buy medicines online.

As with conventional GP surgeries, these online companies and pharmacies are required to provide safe, high-quality and compassionate care and must adhere to exactly the same standards. They must not cut corners.

We will continue to work closely with the other regulatory bodies to share intelligence where we have concerns and take action where necessary. Providers and clinicians must be clear on their responsibilities to protect people who use their services.

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New identity checking

Online identity verification iconDr Fox has introduced extra identity verification checks (Nov 2017). All online clinics are required by the regulator, the Care Quality Commission, to perform these ID checks.

How the checks work

The majority of patients can be verified online instantly by referencing data on their credit profile at the time they make a payment for a prescription. This is called a ‘soft’ check to validate identity only, and is not a check on a person’s credit-worthiness. The ID check will not affect their credit rating.

Patient’s must enter their correct full name and date of birth, and the payment card address that is registered with your payment card provider or bank. The delivery address can be different from the payment card address. Read in full

Danger of Fentanyl found in counterfeit and illicit drugs

fentanyl deaths warning posterThere is a growing problem in the United States and Canada which is likely to become more of an issue in the UK and Europe: Fentanyl overdose.

What is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a synthetic (manufactured) opioid and is the most potent opioid available for medical treatment. Used to relieve pain in cancer patients, it is 50-100 times stronger than morphine, and usually administered in the form of patches or lozenges. Fentanyl is also used in certain emergency situations when stopping a patients breathing, where medics need to take over the breathing for the patient. Read in full

The social media that’s good for your health

health social networks

Which websites do you tend to hang out on? Chances are you often find yourself jumping from one social media site to the next – a recent report states that Britons spend an average of about 1 hour and 20 minutes on social media networks per day, which accounts for a significant percentage of the time we spend online as a whole.

Whether on your laptop, desktop, tablet or mobile phone, as you scroll through your feed you often see health-related posts. People post updates on their weight loss journey, their battle with an illness, or even ask their friends and followers questions about a health condition.

But the normal venues may not be the most relevant outlets for health-related conditions. You may want to migrate over to a health-focused social network to get specific answers to your questions and support from others experiencing the same health issues. Read in full