The following links are to recent articles about buying generic medicines online in the UK.
Buying medicines online is perfectly legal in the UK. Neither the UK medicines agency (MHRA) nor HM Customs & Excise have concerns with this, so long as it is only for personal use. The agencies do caution about issue of quality, as with buying anything online.
Personal use is defined as up to a three month supply and is to be used by the person buying the meds and not being sold or shared.
One example of why this is relevant for HIV, is that PrEP (tenofovir/FTC) costs £400 for 30 tablets of the brand version (Truvada) but only £50-£100 for generic versions (depending on the supplier).
The potential for important generic drugs to treat hepatitis C is also important.
For example, the current price list from hepCAsia shows that the 15 generic companies in India selling sofosbuvir (from four different manufacturers) charge $314 to $399 for 28 tablets. (See link below).
None of these options takes away from the principal that NHS treatment and care in the UK should be available and free to all at the point of care.
The NHS should provide PrEP to all those who need it and new hepatitis C drugs to all that need them.
Links to articles on buying generic drugs
- i-Base Q&A resources on PrEP: increased use of off-label PrEP in the UK shows need for NHS support and risk to PEP services
Several Q&A pages about buying generic PrEP.
The IwantPrEPnow site is especially helpful with recommended websites for PrEP.
This clinic includes an option to pay privately for a blood test to check for active level of tenofovir, as a way to confirm an internet supply s genuine.
- Australian Medical Society issues guidelines for personal importation of generic oral hepatitis C drugs including sofosbuvir
Prompted by the need for access to sofosbuvir by Australian patients, and the delay in the Australian health system deciding on access, this information was provide by doctors.
It would be helpful if UK doctors could produce similar information.
The community organisation hepcAsia updates an online resource listing generic versions of sofosbuvir in India. Please note that these have not been FDA or WHO prequalifed or approved.