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Counterfeit medicines


There have been stories in the media about counterfeit medicines and medical devices – What you should know

There have been very few counterfeit medicines or medical devices identified in the UK. However, it is important to continue to be vigilant. 118pharmacy uses only approved and trusted wholesalers such as Alliance Healthcare. Alliance healthcare is one of the top three wholesalers in the world and they obtain all their medicinal products direct from the manufactures therefore reducing the chance for the introduction of counterfeit medicines.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is the government agency which is responsible for ensuring that medicines and medical devices work, and are acceptably safe. It is an executive agency of the Department of Health.

One of the MHRA’s key responsibilities is to minimise the risk of members of the public receiving counterfeit medicines. They do this by licensing all steps of the medicines distribution system from manufacturing, distribution, storage through the supply chain, and by monitoring the supply and manufacture of medical devices. They have robust systems in place to prevent counterfeit medicines penetrating into the UK's pharmaceutical supply chain. If a counterfeit medicine does enter the chain they have the safeguards to detect counterfeits early and protect the public accordingly.

If a counterfeit medicine is ever suspected or reported then all pharmacies and wholesalers are alerted within hours and all batches of the particular drug are isolated and withdrawn. 

For more info visit:

Reporting a counterfeit medicine or device

If you have been offered what you suspect to be counterfeit products, or have seen them for sale or have bought them please assist in tracking down those responsible by contacting the Enforcement Group via email: or you can ring their 24 hour dedicated hotline on 020 3080 6701 or write to them at Counterfeits, The Intelligence Unit, MHRA, 151 Buckingham Palace Road, Victoria, London, SW1W 9SZ.

How to distinguish between registered online pharmacies and other commercial websites

The green cross logo identifies legitimate online pharmacies registered with the General Pharmaceutical Council. By clicking on the logo, you can verify the registration details of both the pharmacy and the pharmacist(s) behind the website. You can be assured that you are purchasing safe and genuine medicines online.

For more info about the green cross logo visit:

How to check if a pharmacist or pharmacy is legitimate?

In order to practise in Great Britain, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians must be registered with the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) and have satisfied the GPhC that they meet their detailed requirements.

Pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and registered pharmacy premises must renew their registration every year, which involves meeting all their professional, fitness to practise and ethical standards.

Anyone who is not registered with the GPhC but practises as a pharmacist or pharmacy technician, or refers to themselves as such, is breaking the law and can be prosecuted.

You can have confidence that the individuals who appear on the GPhC’s registers are fully qualified and meet all their standards.

The register is available for the public to search online and contains details of pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and pharmacy premises:    

Raising Concerns

If you have concerns about a website that is supplying medicines and the website is not operated by a registered pharmacy premises in Great Britain, please contact Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency 

MHRA 151 Buckingham Palace Road, London SW1W 9SZ


Telephone 020 3080 6000

Fax 020 3118 9803



If you have concerns about a pharmacy or pharmacist registered in Great Britain, please contact the Standards Advisory Team on 020 3365 3460