Purchasing Medicines & Cosmetics Online

Buying Medicines Online

Due to the increase of online self-diagnosis through websites and apps we understand that it may seem like the easier option to purchase medicines online. We know because of the pressure on the NHS it can be difficult to have access to a medical professional or you may not get the prescription you think you need.  However, taking counterfeit medicines can actually be more harmful to your health.

We understand that you can have what seems to be embarrassing infection such as STI’s, or you could feel like you are in a difficult position as you may need an abortion, the morning after pill or would like treatment for acne. Please be aware that the correct medical intervention from a professional can make it a simple and straight forward process to get the right help for you.

Using medicines that are prescribed by a healthcare professional will be the correct dose and taken for the appropriate amount of time and you will receive the appropriate aftercare. However, taking medicines you have purchased online could be harmful, they could also be the wrong type of medication or could even prolong your symptoms and additionally have the potential to make them worse. Medicines purchased online from an unregistered professional could be unsafe to your health as it could be out-of-date, it could have been tampered with or even fake.

The NHS & government have created a website so that you can find out if that website, supplier or practitioners are authorised to sell medication and the signs that you can look for to identify legitimate sellers. Tackling the sale of counterfeit or illegal medicines is the leading initiative of the National Trading Standard’s e-crime team. Follow the link to find out more: 

Please seek professional medical help if you or someone you know has taken medications purchased online. If they are in immediate danger, please call 999. You can report suspicious websites that you think may be selling medicines illegally here: 

Buying cosmetics online

There are a number of sites and individuals that are selling counterfeit cosmetics and The British Skin Foundation is warning that fake cosmetics can be dangerous. The counterfeit cosmetics may not have been tested or could potentially have dangerous chemicals in. Although fake make up can initially be seen as a good idea to save some money according to the experts in the long run counterfeit cosmetics can cause harm to you and your skin.

We have put together a list of 4 P’s to help you identify counterfeit cosmetics…

1. Price

How much does it cost? Is it a new product with a high price?

If the price seems too good to be true it probably is especially if it is a new product or a celebrity endorsed one.

2. Place

Where is the product being sold? If the product is being sold online what sites is it on?

Try and assess if the place or platform that the product is being sold is a genuine site.

3. Packaging

Does the packaging the product comes in look legitimate?

Look at both in the inner and outer packaging of the product. Look at the logo, the quality of the packaging and the overall branding.

4. Product

How many of the products does the seller have?

Do they have a large quantity of the product to sell especially if it is mass produced and a new product this could be another indicator.

If you do think the cosmetics you have bought may be fake please report the user to the selling platform or to your Local Trading Standards Office. You can find your local trading standards office by following this link:

Who can you contact if your child is purchasing medicines & cosmetics online?

If you feel like your child is in imediate danger, please dial 999 or the relevant professional body. To find out more information from the following organisations, click on the buttons below.

Need help with any other digital issues?  Find out more.

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