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Buying medicines and medical devices online

27 June 2016

Watch this video to learn more about the risks associated with buying medicines and medical devices online.


Buying medicines or medical devices online?

If you're ordering medicine, health equipment or supplies online the Therapeutic Goods Administration, or TGA, is here to help inform you that you may not be making the best choices for your health.

After all, it can seem that there are a lot of tempting options online, but it's difficult to tell which of these products are regulated, and making the wrong purchase could leave you risking your health, out of pocket, or in extreme cases, in trouble with the law.

The problem is, when you buy medicines online, you just don't know who's made them, or what's going into them. The medicines may look right, but you have no way of knowing if they are counterfeit, have the wrong amount of active ingredient, are contaminated with toxic chemicals, or contain undisclosed dangerous or illegal ingredients. All of this can have major consequences for you. It can be dangerous to your health, leave you out of pocket if your purchase is stopped at the border, or in extreme cases you could even be in trouble with the law.

So if the dangers of buying medicines online are making you stop and think, do your research. Make sure you're buying from a legitimate Australian pharmacy. Use the TGA's online resources, or talk to your doctor. Make the first site you check before you buy medicines online.

Buying medicines or medical devices online?

Know the risks - you could:

Seriously risk your health

Lose your money

Break the law

Stay safe - follow these 4 steps

Talk to your doctor or pharmacist
Find out who you're buying from and what you're buying
Read our 'Can I import it?' page

Be suspicious of wild claims.

If a website or product seems too good to be true, it probably is.

A serious risk

Medicines and medical devices bought online from overseas are not regulated by the TGA.

These items have a high chance of:

Being counterfeit

Containing the wrong amount of active ingredient

Being contaminated with toxic chemicals

Containing undisclosed or dangerous ingredients

Being past their use by date

Buying online can seem like a simple, affordable option, but products bought online can be a serious risk to your health.