Online pharmacy UK Meds has announced it invested more than £500,000 into an innovative AI and facial biometrics software to improve patient safety within the industry.

The news comes shortly after a new report from Pulse found that the average wait for a routine GP appointment is now more than two weeks, for the first time ever.

In response to the resulting increasing demands on NHS services and growing needs for patients to buy prescription medicines, UK Meds has announced a partnership with the global identity verification provider Onfido to make buying prescription-only medicines online much safer.

Recent data published by the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) states that 25% of people are likely to use online pharmacies in the future, but 50% of those unlikely to do so have concerns about the safety of online pharmacies. Following the research, the GPhC published new safeguarding guidelines around buying medicines online.

Joe Soiza, managing director of UK Meds, said that the company has “significantly invested in new technology such as Onfido, which has strengthened the safety measures surrounding the purchasing of medicines online. We are ahead of the curve and already adhere to the updated national guidelines set out by the GPhC.”

He continued to explain that they know that most of our customers use us because they cannot get a GP appointment, which must be very frustrating for them. At UK Meds we want to give people an alternative choice when it comes to prescription-only medicines and the confidence in buying medicines online.

“Patients go through thorough clinical checks to ensure that the medicine they have requested is medically appropriate and dispensed in the correct quantity and strength for their condition. The new software verifies people's identity using photo-based government issued identity documents and artificial intelligence. Onfido’s technology first checks patients’ ID is genuine, then cross references the ID against international compliance watchlists.”

UK Meds uses a number of qualified, UK-based independent prescribers to review prescription requests and, if approved, these are then dispensed from its Nottingham-based pharmacy.