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.

Read in full

Identity checking procedures

Online identity verification iconDr Fox introduced extra identity verification checks November 2017. All online clinics are required by the regulator, the Care Quality Commission, to have in place patient identity verification processes.

How the checks work

The majority of patients can be verified online instantly by referencing data on their credit profile. 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 a delivery address that is registered with a payment card provider, bank or building society, finance provider, or electoral register, to pass an online credit check. 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

UK prices for morning after pill: is there an alternative?

morning after pill prices headlines

News articles over the weekend (7-8 May 2016) revealed that women in the UK are paying an astonishing five times more for the morning after pill than those in other European countries.

Experts have also expressed outrage at the hoops that must be jumped through to get the drug, calling on the government to make it available off the shelf, as well as reduce the price. Unlike in France, Scandinavia, and the United States, the pill is not available without a consultation; women are required to undergo a consultation and discuss their sex lives with a pharmacist or doctor in order to access the time-sensitive emergency contraception.

High costs and a difficult process to obtain the morning after pill have resulted in what Anne Furedi of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service calls a framework that is “insulting, expensive and does not meet women’s needs”, according to The Independent. Read in full

Antibiotic Guardianship

Antibiotic Guardian logo

Antibiotic resistance is one of our biggest threats

It is already happening and is just as great an issue as climate change and world hunger. To slow resistance we need to cut overuse and misuse of antibiotics. Read in full

NHS Eatwell Guide 2016

NHS Eatwell Guide 2016The Department of Health has released the new Eatwell Guide that shows the different types of food we should eat – and in what proportions – to have a healthy, balanced diet.

The guide says a healthy diet should now include more fruit, vegetables and starchy carbohydrates.

Sugary soft drinks have been removed entirely from the new guide and foods that are high in fat, salt and sugar have been moved off the plate to a corner of the image, reflecting advice that they are not an essential part of a healthy and balanced diet.

Indigestion pills not conclusively linked to Alzheimer’s

Despite a recent study linking acid indigestion tablets to increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia, patients should continue to take prescribed proton pump inhibitor drugs (PPIs), such as omeprazole and pantoprazole.

daily mail

Medications like omeprazole and pantoprazole work by suppressing the amount of stomach acid, treating heartburn and stomach ulcers, and are widely used throughout the UK. However a recent Daily Mail article cites research by the German Study on Aging, Cognition and Dementia in Primary Care Patients, linking the taking of PPIs with a 44% higher chance of developing dementia. Read in full