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More from MHRA about buying NDT from Online Pharmacies outside of the EU

Message from Sheila Turner to MHRA

Hello I would be very grateful if you would be kind enough to let me know what is the policy of the MHRA and whether there are any legal implications regarding UK residents importing natural desiccated porcine thyroid extract, i.e. Armour Thyroid, Erfa Thyroid, Nature Throid and Westhroid for their personal use, where these products were purchased from Internet Pharmacies located outside of the EU for the personal use?

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Response from MHRA

From: MHRA Customer Services [mailto:info@mhra.gsi.gov.uk]
Sent: 18 February 2014 11:51
To: sheila@tpauk.com
Subject: GCEP-00092984 – FW: FW: Enquiry – Contact Us
Dear Ms Turner,

Thank you for your enquiry; please accept our apologies for the wait you have had for a response.
Our advice to anyone considering buying what may be a Prescription Only Medicine online is to consult their doctor, rather than purchase the medicine directly from an internet supplier without a prescription. People who acquire medicines without the benefit of a consultation with an appropriate healthcare professional risk being supplied with medicines that are not safe or are not suitable for them to use; a patients doctor is also best placed to advise on suitable treatment bearing in mind their medical history and will be able to monitor their patient as they take their medicine.

It is not illegal for a member of the public to purchase a medicine for their own personal use over the internet, but this is an activity which we do not encourage based on our concerns as outlined above and on our website via the link below:

http://www.mhra.gov.uk/Safetyinformation/Generalsafetyinformationandadvice/Adviceandinformationforconsumers/BuyingmedicinesovertheInternet/index.htm

We hope you find this information of use.
Kind Regards,
Ben Scott,
Customer Services
External Relations
Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency
Tel: 020 3080 6000

A fuller response was sent from the MHRA 13 February 2014:

TPA wrote to the MHRA asking about any legal implications regarding UK residents importing either synthetic or natural thyroid hormones for their personal use, where these products were purchased from Online Pharmacies located outside of the EU.

The answer from MHRA was as follows :

“From: MHRA Customer Services [mailto:info@mhra.gsi.gov.uk]
Sent: 13 February 2014 13:38
To: ‘sheilaturner@tpa-uk.org.uk
Cc: Pharmacovigilanceservice
Subject: RE: Question about importing prescription drugs

Dear Ms Turner,

Thank you for your email.

There are no formal restrictions on an individual importing medicines into the UK provided they are strictly for use by that person or a member of their immediate family. Consequently, we do not issue any form of licence, certificate or authorisation to aid personal importation. We consider personal use to involve the use of the products by an individual or their immediate family or household; under such importation an individual must not sell or supply imported medicines onward as this would be considered placing the product onto the market.

Up to a 3 month supply of a medicine is considered to be an acceptable quantity for personal use, HM Revenue and Customs can prevent importation if large quantities are being imported and/or they have suspicions that the product is not being imported for personal use. There is more information on the HM Revenue and Customs website at the link below: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/

Individuals are advised to investigate whether the product(s) to be imported would be categorised as controlled substances in the UK. Controlled drugs are regulated by the Home Office under the Misuse of Drugs Act, and can require a licence to allow their entry into the UK. The Home Office have published a list (although not exhaustive) of controlled substances on their website and individuals are advised to contact them directly for clarification on whether a Home Office licence is required for importation into the UK: https://www.gov.uk/government/public…led-drugs-list

Anyone posting packages containing medicines are advised to include a copy of the prescription and/or a letter from the patients doctor explaining why the product(s) are required; the package should be clearly labelled on the outside stating the contents of the package and that the products are for personal use. Medicines should be kept in their original packaging and should be transported in accordance with storage conditions specified by the Manufacturer (this not only helps identify the medicines, but also helps ensure the products stability).

The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) operates the Internet Pharmacy Logo which helps members of the public identify if a website is being operated by a legitimate pharmacy in the UK. Currently, this is a voluntary scheme but provisions in the European Falsified Medicines Directive require Member States to introduce national arrangements to register suppliers of medicines at a distance. This will involve the establishment of a national website and the adoption of a common EU logo. All websites supplying medicines at a distance will be required to display the EU logo and provide a hyperlink to the national website of the Member State in which the person offering to sell medicines at a distance is established.

Please note that Rogue websites identified overseas are referred to the relevant country for appropriate action by us. However, many set up their operations from countries where there is little, or no, regulatory control, we therefore work closely with the EU and other international regulatory authorities to ensure that wherever possible offending websites are amended to reflect the law. Although websites based overseas are not caught by the scope of UK medicines legislation, with the assistance of the Metropolitan Police Central e-Crime Unit and cooperation from domain name providers, the MHRA has closed down over a hundred websites (including those based overseas) and brought into compliance hundreds more.

We hope you find this information useful. Please contact us again if you need further assistance with any other queries.

Kind Regards, Ronke Omotayo (Mrs)
Customer Services
External Relations
Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency “

Page Last Updated : 23 March 2014

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