Why online pharmacies could be safer than the high street

16th May 2019

When it comes to the world of medications and healthcare, everyone knows that the top priority is safety. And while many are sceptical about the safety of using online pharmacies, recent reports show that it could be even safer than seeking healthcare on the high street.

The BBC have just published a report detailing how a 17 year old teenage actress went into a number of Boots, Superdrug and Holland & Barrett stores, and was sold diet pills without having any ID checked. While it’s not illegal to sell medications of this kind to someone under the age of 18, it is against the stores’ own policies and it does raise concerns about how young a person could be to successfully buy them without being checked for ID.

So while the high street clamps down on their processes and strengthens their staff training, customers can rest easy in the knowledge that the online processes at UK Meds are not open to human error.

What are UK Meds’ age policies?

We have always operated an over-18s-only policy in regards to using our service, which serves as a convenient, practical and remote alternative to the conventional GP/pharmacy route. Perfect for those who either struggle to get to the GP or simply don’t have time, our service is inclusive of a doctor service, prescription service, and delivery of medications, right to your door.

Even though it is perfectly legal to get prescription medications from your GP at the age of 12, and completely fine to buy pharmacy medications at the age of 16, we only offer our service to over 18s because dealing with patients remotely is much safer this way.

How do you check people’s age?

Unlike with the conventional high street method which is to have a member of staff ask anyone who looks younger than 25 for ID, our systems are run by computers. When you sign up for our service, your name and address is run through a soft identity check with a company called Onfido. They’ll verify that you are who you say you are (including your age) and only those that are proven to be over the age of 18 will be able to make it any further on our website.

If this initial check fails then do not worry. At this point, Onfido will request more information (a photo of your passport or driving license) to try once again to verify your identity. As long as your ID is valid and you take a nice, clear photo of it, then you should pass the identity check and be able to continue with your order on the UK Meds website.

What do you do with my ID data after that?

The short answer is nothing. We do not store any information about your ID on our system or use it in any way; your account simply earns a ‘verified’ status and you will be able to order without hassle in the future. Your ID is also not shared, leaked or sold to any other third parties; we use it solely to make sure that medications are going to the right people and no one under age is being sold anything that they shouldn’t be.

Unlike high street pharmacies, our service is not open to falsified ages or a lack of ID. The identity checks that we run should put your mind at ease that we put patient safety at the top of our priority list and along with our convenient, discreet and easy-to-use platform, it’s no wonder that more and more people are putting their healthcare in the hands of online pharmacies.