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Recognizing the legal Internet Pharmacy

Online Pharmacy

The trend of online purchasing is growing day by day and cannot be control anymore. More worrying is the sales of drugs through online pharmacy that is managed by unauthorized individuals..

According to Tracy S. Hunter in her book titled E-pharmacy: A Guide to Internet Carezone (2002), she defined online pharmacy as a ‘webpage that advertise, supplies, dispense, and sell description drugs and various health and beauty products (non-prescribed drugs, supplements, vitamins, minerals, herbs, cosmetics, diagnostic tools and etc.)

Online pharmacy can be divided into 4 types:-

  1. Networks of traditional/conventional pharmacy with webpages.
  2. Specialized pharmaceutical community with webpages.
  3. Only webpages (without physical premises)
  4. Fake webpages

Therefore it is important for everyone to ensure they know and recognized webpages that sells certified health products.

These are 7 ways of knowing authorized online pharmacy:

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Risk of purchasing drugs/medicine from illegal online pharmacy

It is true that online purchasing via an online pharmacy give lots of convenience to the consumer as it is time saving. However, the risk outweighs the benefits especially when it involves online purchase of drugs/medicines.

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Few types of product that are selling fast online are slimming products, products that increase male potency, skin whitening products and chronic diseases drugs. This is extremely dangerous because the individual that operates this webpages or social media are mostly non-certified individual. Emotional factor also influence online purchasing because the consumer do not have to meet face to face with the seller as some disease such as weak sexual function and obesity are considered private to them therefore leading to them choosing this way as to prevent meeting with medicinal practitioner face to face.

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Check Before You Click!

These are the guidelines that can be followed before purchasing any drugs online:

  1. You can ONLY purchase drugs that are categorized as over-the-counter (OTC), traditional and health supplements (MAL No. ending with X, T and N only). MAL No. ending with A are categorized as controlled-medicine (need prescription). Check product registration at www.pharmacy.gov.my
  2. Prescribed drugs CANNOT be sold online. Prescribed drug can only obtained through licensed medicinal practitioner or pharmacist.
  3. You can ONLY obtain your medicine from authorized webpages that are managed by licensed pharmacist.
  4. DO NOT fall for advertisement with fake promises. You can check for approved advertisement at www.pharmacy.gov.my
  5. As a reminder, purchasing online drugs through an unauthorized source may result in unregistered drugs, fake drugs or drugs that are contaminated with scheduled poisons. You can check for products contaminated with scheduled poison at www.pharmacy.gov.my

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The increase in the uses of technologies nowadays had contributed to many types of advertisement spread in a blink of an eye especially through social medias such as facebook, wechat, whatsapps, twitter and so on. Therefore, it is difficult for Ministry of Health (MOH) to control and need the help of the society to not fall for these types of advertisements. If there is no demand then surely there are no supplies. Consumers need to be wise in choosing drugs especially drugs that are need to be eaten and drugs that are rub on the skins. The attention given to drug advertisement cannot be compare to other commodity advertisement as these drugs consume will give effect to our body.

Therefore, take extra caution when purchasing drugs. Get your medical advices from legal medical practitioner and pharmacist. Please avoid from purchasing drugs via social media and illegal webpages. Ensure pharmaceutical drugs/products have their MAL registration number along with hologram stickers and its advertisement are approved by MAB. For extra information the Pharmacist Services Division had setup a special webpage to promote the risk of online purchasing of drugs. Please go to http://www.pharmacy.gov.my/v2/ms/website/waspada-belian-ubat-online for further information / tips / guide / e-poster and videos.

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CHECK BEFORE YOU CLICK!

References

  1. Medicines (Advertisement & Sale) Act 1956
  2. Tracy S. Hunter; E-Pharmacy: A Guide to Internet Carezone, (2002), p192
  3. www.pharmacy.gov.my
Last Reviewed : 13 Oktober 2016
Writer/Translator : Normawati bt. Mohamed Noor
Accreditor : Umikalsom bt. Ibrahim
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