Pharmacies play a key role in providing quality medicines and healthcare to the general public, and so choosing the right one for your family is just as important as choosing your doctor and dentist.
In addition to dispensing your prescriptions, a good pharmacist will also provide you with medical advice on common conditions such as colds and minor aches and pains, they will take time to explain the possible side effects of any medicines you are taking, they will help you dispose of out-of-date medicines, and they will offer prescription delivery in the UK, but not all pharmacists are the same, and so you need to do some research before making your final choice.
Online Pharmacy vs. Local Pharmacy
The way we shop for our prescription medicines has changed dramatically in recent years, and with thousands of online pharmacies and prescription doctors offering a range of medication from painkillers such as dihydrocodeine to birth control right at our fingertips, many people prefer to shop for their medication on the internet. Fast, convenient and reliable, online pharmacies are perfect for busy professionals who do not have the time to visit their local pharmacy, for patients with limited mobility, and for the elderly, who prefer to stay indoors during the cold winter months, but not all online pharmacies are legitimate, and so it is essential that you check their credentials before placing any orders.
Verify Your Online Pharmacy
A UK registered online pharmacy will display the ‘Registered Pharmacy’ Green Cross on their website, which when clicked, will direct you to the General Pharmaceutical Council where you can verify the registration number and address. They will also display an address and telephone number where you can speak to a qualified prescriber, and they will only dispense your medicines after you have completed an online consultation.
While it is easy to find a fully registered online pharmacy in the UK, the World Wide Web is full of ‘black market’ pharmacies that sell counterfeit drugs, and so it is worth taking a few minutes to make those all-important checks.
High Street Pharmacies
Regular high-street pharmacies remain a popular choice for those who have yet to make the switch to online shopping, and due to the sheer volume of pharmacies out there in supermarkets, shopping centres, and almost every local town, the prices they offer are competitive.
While some high street pharmacies offer basic services such as dispensing prescriptions and general over-the-counter medicines, others offer a whole portfolio of services including flu vaccinations, STD screening, out-of-hours and emergency supplies, pregnancy testing, NHS health checks (blood pressure, cholesterol etc. testing), weight management services, stop smoking help, and much more, as so it may be worth driving a little further to find the right pharmacy for your family.
Much like online pharmacies, high street pharmacies need to be registered, and so check their credentials on the General Pharmaceutical Council website.
5 Tips for Choosing the Right Pharmacy
- Recommendations are a good place to start, and so if you are new to an area, ask your doctor or neighbours if they can recommend a local pharmacy.
- Ask how long they have been in business. The longer the pharmacy has been established, the more likely it is to be a trusted source.
- Compare prices. It might be worth driving to the next town if the medicine prices are much cheaper.
- Check if the pharmacy offers free local delivery. You may not need this service now, but it’s nice to know it is there if the need ever arises.
- Does it stock everything you need? If you can’t get all your meds in one place, shop around for a larger pharmacy that can cater for you needs.
The majority of pharmacists in the UK are highly qualified professionals who take your health very seriously, and when you find the right one, you can be confident that you will always have direct access to the best advice and the branded medicines you need.