An online pharmacy has become the first in the UK to accept Bitcoin payments, commenting that the privacy offered by cryptocurrencies would appeal to some patients seeking treatment for sensitive medical conditions, such as the recently reclassified Viagra Connect.

MedExpress said its decision to accept Bitcoin for all online purchases made it the first regulated online pharmacy to offer this option, adding that the move coincided with the currency being valued at more than £12,500.

The company said that allowing people to purchase medicines in the knowledge that there would be no record on their bank statements would help encourage them to seek treatment for sensitive conditions such as erectile dysfunction, herpes and male pattern baldness.

MedExpress managing director Dwayne D’Souza said: “The growth in popularity of Bitcoin means that it is now a viable payment option and offers no paper trail unlike other payment methods. Discretion is very important to our customers, and we hope that people who previously avoided treatment as they were concerned about their partner finding out, will now be able to receive the healthcare they need safely and discreetly.” 

The company’s medical director, Clare Morrison, said: “MedExpress still performs a number of identity checks to ensure that patients are not using a false identity to obtain medicines illegally; but allowing a more discreet payment and delivery method ensures that patients can b confident that their purchase is shielded from those around them.”

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