Prescription Drugs

March 17, 2016

Fake Drugs Pose Hazard to Public Health

The increased use of online pharmacies has led to illegal sales of fake drugs, posing an enormous public health risk. Before you consider purchasing prescription medicines from an online pharmacy, especially one that’s not associated with a health insurance plan or local “brick and mortar” pharmacy, check out the FDA’s BeSafeRx – Know Your Online Pharmacy website and resources.

The site offers advice for consumers, health professionals, and organizations on the risks of purchasing medicines from a fake or fraudulent online pharmacy, how to identify them, and how to find legitimate online pharmacies. It contains an easy-to-use interactive map tool that lets you locate a state-licensed online pharmacy, providing a quick way to ensure the site you order from is safe and legal.

Currently, 5 million Americans are estimated to fill prescriptions using online transactions. However, the lack of regulation and accountability have led to skyrocketing sales of counterfeit drugs.

Taking these counterfeit medications can have serious health consequences. The fake drugs have no quality control. There may be too much of an active ingredient, leading to serious medical emergencies. Many fake drugs are mixed with unknown compounds, the effects of which have not been tested or approved by the FDA.

There are several signs to look for when identifying a fake online pharmacy. Their advertising often comes in the form of unsolicited emails. They usually advertise prices that seem too good to be true. They also advertise extremely popular or well-known drugs, such as brand-name painkillers. Another common tactic is to allow purchases without a prescription from a medical doctor, which is illegal.

You can use these tips from the BeSafeRX – Know Your Online Pharmacy to help decide if an online vendor might be trying to scam you. The site also provides a list of known online vendors whose prescriptions have been found to be unsafe.

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