A virtual GP service has pleaded guilty to operating without Care Quality Commission (CQC) registration.

Stockport-based Pharmacorp Ltd, also known as Medicine Direct, is due to be sentenced at Tameside Magistrates’ Court in Ashton-under-Lyne tomorrow (18 February) following prosecution by the healthcare regulator.

According to the CQC, medication was prescribed to patients by doctors, who were registered with the GMC, based in Romania, and delivered by post from the UK.

Dispensing activity was carried out between 1 August 2018 and 1 July 2019, when Medicine Direct was not registered with the CQC.

The regulator said that the company’s website was misleading as it suggested that the company used UK based doctors to prescribe medication.

CQC said: ‘[This] service exposed patients to a significant risk of harm, due to them completing prescription requests while unregulated and by using an online questionnaire which carried the real risk of misdiagnosis’.

‘Without access to the patients’ GP notes, the doctor would have been unable to confirm that the information provided in the questionnaire by the patients was accurate,’ the regulator explained.

CQC requires digital providers that use doctor consultation services to be registered as a provider for the regulated activity of the treatment of disease, disorder or injury.

Failure to register amounts to a criminal offence under Section 10 of the Health and Social Care Act 2008.