Read the text below.
Some online pharmacies are illegally dispensing antibiotics to customers in the United Kingdom.
To be able to sell medicine to the country, online pharmacies are required to register with the General Pharmaceutical Council and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). The pharmacies must also display a mandatory logo from the European Union. However, the Imperial College London found through a study that nearly half of online pharmacies sell medicine illegally, with eight out of ten stores letting customers decide their own dosages.
Of the online pharmacies analyzed in the study, 75% were not legally registered, and only 30% required customers to complete a health questionnaire before selling them drugs. One of the study’s authors expressed concern over the findings. She pointed out the risk of disease-causing microbes to develop resistance to drugs and become “superbugs.”
Excessive use of antibiotics can make bacteria develop resistance against drugs. The resulting superbugs become untreatable, making even a minor infection life-threatening. The World Health Organization has acknowledged the threat of superbugs to global public health. Experts also warned that if drug-resistant bacteria continue to increase, medical science could revert to the dark ages and millions of people could die from diseases.
The researchers strongly advised creating a taskforce to stop illegal online stores from selling medicines that require prescriptions. However, despite the MHRA’s efforts to shut down 4,760 websites selling prescription medicines without a license last year, the agency admitted that closing down all unregistered online pharmacies would be a very great challenge at this time.