You may have noticed that Dutch doctors are reluctant to prescribe antibiotics and other meds. Why this is, we discussed in a previous post. But, is it safe to disregard the advice from your GP and try to obtain meds through the internet?
Testing online pharmacies
The Dutch Consumer Association (‘Consumentenbond’) were able to order 20 prescription drugs, such as such as antibiotics, sedatives, antidepressants and cancer medication without having to provide a doctor’s prescription. Testing showed that in almost all medicines supplied, the quantity of active substance was more or less than indicated on the packaging.
Some online pharmacies even provided dangerous health advice, for example by recommending heavy sleeping pills and antidepressants to young children.
Illegal and unsafe
Selling prescription drugs without a prescription is illegal. Some webshops are clearly aware of this, finds the Consumentenbond, and only accept payment in cash or crypto currency. They also warn the customer not to use the name of the webshop when ordering.
Ordering meds without a prescription can be potentially harmful. Only a doctor that is treating you and has access to your medical file can assess whether a particular drug is suitable for you and whether it can be used safely in combination with other medications.
More worrying, says the Consumentenbond, are the professional-looking websites that are barely distinguishable from legal internet pharmacies. They evade Dutch regulations through foreign doctors and pharmacies. After completing a medical questionnaire, a mystery shopper was given an antibiotic cure from a British pharmacy, on the prescription of a doctor in Romania.
Safely buying meds
Read more on how to safely buy (prescription) medication at pharmacies, chemists and online.
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