Proposed new guidelines for doctors prescribing drugs include extra protection for patients when purchasing prescriptions over the internet, it has been revealed.
The General Medical Council (GMC) draft guidance, put out for public consultation on Thursday, would see doctors prescribing online having to liaise with the patient's GP.
But the new measure – part of Good Practice In Prescribing And Managing Medicines And Devices – would not apply if the patient objects to their GP being contacted.
The new guidance also proposes that a cheaper unlicensed medicine could be prescribed should it be safe and effective for the patient and have clinical guidelines backing its use. It is the first time such a move has been proposed.
Among the other proposed guidance is for doctors to avoid prescribing for themselves or family members except in emergency situations.
There are also tough guidelines for doctors treating athletes who they suspect may be taking banned performance-enhancing drugs.
GMC Chief Executive Niall Dickson said: "We want to hear the views of patients, carers, doctors and other health professionals about some of the difficult decisions doctors face when prescribing and how doctors can help patients better understand the information about the medicines they are taking."
"Very good idea about the new guidelines regarding drugs from the internet! I would like to point out that the cheap drugs do not work! I have talked to people that I meet in the chemist when I collect my prescription! and this is what they say another lot of cheap rubbish that do not work. I would like to point this out to the idiots that come up with the idea of cheap drugs, they do not work. Maybe it is alright for them that come up with the ideas, because they get fat pay checks, and buy the best. The government never want to hear the views of the people, only at election time. No wonder people all around are feeling sour" – Mary Sircar, Cornwall