The Risks of Purchasing Online Prescription Drugs

Saving money is on everyone’s mind, especially when it comes to prescription drugs. Many people have taken to the internet to try to find better deals on the prescription drugs they need and it is not uncommon to find better prices online versus the prices you might pay at your local pharmacy. Research has shown that the number of people purchasing their medications online has increased significantly but people do not understand the dangers in which they are exposing themselves to.

People have different reasons for shopping online. Some prefer to pick up their prescriptions at the pharmacy while others prefer to order them online and have them delivered.  If you choose to purchase drugs online, are you truly getting what you paid for?  Counterfeit drugs pose serious health risks to online consumers. Here are just some of the risks:

  • The drug may be contaminated from being manufactured at uninspected or illegitimate sites.
  • They may not treat the condition or disease the way it is advertised to.
  • They may contain the wrong active ingredients or wrong amounts of ingredients.
  • The drugs may be placed in deceiving packaging, even though they are not from a reputable manufacturer.
  • The drugs may be too old, too strong, or too weak.
  • They may not be FDA approved and may not be manufactured using proper, safe standards.
  • It could be unsafe to mix with these drugs with other medicines or products.
  • The drugs could have been labeled, stored, or shipped incorrectly.

As much as some people dislike routine visits to their doctor, your doctor will have intimate knowledge of your medical history, conditions, and what medications best suit you. Having your conditions properly diagnosed and getting the correct prescription from your doctor is a step that cannot be disregarded. Moreover, problems arise when you start taking or mixing medications without your doctor’s expertise and sometimes take longer to cure adverse side effects.

Not all online pharmacies pose the risks outlined above but you should verify the legitimacy of the site before making purchases. Legitimate online pharmacies will display the Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites (VIPPS) seal of approval on their site which requires them to be licensed in every state they ship drugs to. In addition, their site must meet standards for patient privacy, quality assurance, authentication, security of prescriptions, and communication between patient and pharmacists.

Keep a look out for:

  • Sites that do not require a prescription.
  • Sites that sell “experimental” drugs (These usually did not go through government-required clinical trials, can be phony or have potentially lethal side effects).
  • Sites that send unsolicited email offers.
  • Sites that do not provide U.S. contact information.

The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy has a web address where you can go to check a company’s name and web information. Please use caution purchasing online prescription drugs. Your health is valuable to us!

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