Internet pharmacies: Buyers Beware
Using the internet is a convenient way to purchase products. Buying prescription medications is no exception; however, not all website “pharmacies” are licensed and some are not pharmacies at all. They are websites designed to gather personal information about you and obtain credit card information. Even if the website sends you a product, the medication may be fake or expired.
There is a website by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) about using online pharmacy services wisely: http://www.fda.gov/buyonline. There is a section for frequently asked questions http://www.fda.gov/oc/buyonline/faqs.html and a Guideline and tips to using online resources to purchase your prescriptions. http://www.fda.gov/buyonlineguide.
The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy is a national organization of the individual State Boards of Pharmacy. This has a program to help you learn if a pharmacy website is meeting the required regulations. To verify if a pharmacy website has met the state and federal regulations to sell medicine online, go to Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites: www.vipps.info.
These issues are not limited to prescriptions for human medications. There is a recent newsletter from the FDA regarding fraudulent websites that claim to sell drugs for pets. Unfortunately, some of these sites are selling counterfeit products or expired medications which could be dangerous to your pet. More information about this including tips for ordering your pet’s medications online can be found at the FDA website: http://www.fda.gov/consumer/updates/petdrugsonline121407.html