The beginner’s guide to online prescriptions

Our fail-safe checklist to make sure your transition to online pharmacy goes smoothly.


Monthly delivery services are taking the nation by storm. There’s a subscription service for everything from your weekly meals to your toothbrush. If, like thousands of people in the UK, you’re interested in getting online prescriptions too, we’ve got you covered. This quick guide gives you the information you need to get started. Like everything, getting online prescriptions is easy when you know exactly what you’re doing. Our pharmacists have pulled together this five-minute guide. It’s time to get online pharmacy savvy.


Step one: Spot the difference


Let’s get one thing straight. We’re talking about registered pharmacies that provide your prescriptions here. The internet is a vast space, offering a variety of medication services. Certain websites advertise different medications for sale, but we don’t advise going down this route. Many of these sites claim to be online pharmacies but are unregistered. So, they could be unsafe. When you’re looking for an online pharmacy, check that the company’s registration. The governing body is the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC). All registered pharmacies will have a GPhC registration listed on their website, somewhere you can see (ours is on the bottom of every page).


For that extra reassurance, check if the online pharmacy is an NHS one. The easiest way to find this out is to check for the ‘Provides NHS Services’ logo. This means that they work in exactly the same way as other high street pharmacies. They will provide your prescription on behalf of the NHS.


Step two: Understand the process


Online prescriptions are made possible by NHS England’s Electronic Prescription Service (EPS). This is a tool that allows GP surgeries to send prescriptions to pharmacies electronically. It cuts out the leg-work in getting your paper script from the doctor to the pharmacy. NHS England’s choice to implement this service opened the window of opportunity for online pharmacies. Because of EPS, you can benefit from the ease of online medication, with no need to chase back and fore to the pharmacy. Once your online pharmacy has received your electronic prescription, they can dispense your medication as normal.


Step three: Know the online prescriptions lingo


You may need to call up your online pharmacy to chat to an adviser. If you do, it’s a good idea to clue up on one particular industry term: nomination. Essentially, your nomination is your pharmacy preference. When you register with a pharmacy, you nominate them to provide your medication. Your GP surgery can see this nomination. So they know exactly where to send your electronic prescription.

Step four: Pick the right online pharmacy for you


This is a crucial step. There’s various online options, but think about what you want to get from the service. Do you just want a delivery service? Is it important that they also have an online blog for health guidance? Or do you want them to organise your doses, too? If it’s the latter, you should probably check out our homepage to take a look at our unique medication pouches.


Step five: Find out your start date


Your start date is the date that you need your next prescription. You can find this out by simply checking how much medication you have left before you’ll require some more. It’s vital to get this correct when you sign up to get your online prescriptions. A good online pharmacy will double check on this. If your next start date is too soon after signing up, they might advise that you collect it as normal and use their service for your next batch. This helps to prevent any issues in the switch over.


Step six: Be precise about your delivery needs


Make sure that your medication delivery is going to the correct place. Tip: this might not be your registered address or the address that your GP surgery have. The beauty of using an online pharmacy is that you can get your medication delivered to where you need it. There’s no need to go out of your way to pick up your prescription. Check if your online pharmacy can register your delivery preferences. This will help you arrange a delivery to work or to a neighbour’s address if you’re not at home. It’s also a great idea to let them know about a secure spot for your medication delivery- such as a porch or delivery box.


Step seven: Keep their contact details safe


Like a community pharmacy, your online pharmacy should be contactable in case you have any queries. Check out their website to find out how to get in touch if you need any help with your prescription. Keep their contact details safe in your phone or notebook, in case of an emergency.


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