Fake Pharmacies Lurk Online
It can be tempting to look for cheaper sources of prescriptions drugs, but going online to hunt for your drugs is not the answer. The risks of dealing with online pharmacies are serious. If you get a fake drug, it will contain the wrong ingredients, and they’ll likely be harmful to you. You might get a bad reaction that sends you to the hospital. If nothing else, your condition could worsen, since you won’t be getting the medicine you need.
Drugs from a fake pharmacy might not have any label at all, and no instructions on how to take them. You’ll have no contact with a local pharmacist who can track your prescriptions for adverse interactions. In short, you’ll receive the medicine (real, or not) and nothing more.
The signs of a fake online pharmacy are: No prescription required. Prices are cheap. It ships anywhere in the world. You get spam email. It’s not in the United States. It’s not licensed. Remember: Anyone can put up a website that looks genuine.
To learn how to avoid a rogue online pharmacy, the Food and Drug Administration has just launched a new website, BeSafeRx (www.FDA.gov/BeSafeRx). Go online and watch the short videos. Call the FDA at 1-888-463-6332 for more information.
The Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites (VIPPS) is one way to check whether an online pharmacy is legitimate [www.nabp.net]. You can check out the pharmacist by going to the BeSafeRx website. Click on Know Your Online Pharmacy. Click on the map of the state and search for the company and the pharmacist to make sure both are licensed.
Update: The FDA has just ordered the operators of 4,100 websites to stop selling unapproved medications. But there are more still out there.
Matilda Charles regrets that she cannot personally answer reader questions, but will incorporate them into her column whenever possible. Write to her in care of King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475, or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
(c) 2012 King Features Synd., Inc.