FDA Launches Fight Against Fake Online Pharmacies Pushing Cheap but Risky Drugs (VIDEO)

25% of Online Consumers Now Buy Drugs Online, but only 35% of Internet Pharmacies Reportedly Meet Federal Standards

By Judy Feldman on September 29, 2012 3:47 PM EDT

Antibiotics
FDA Launches Fight Against Fraudulent Online Pharmacies (Photo: Wiki Common)

Buying your prescription drugs through the Internet may be cheaper, but it may not be worth the savings.  In fact, it may not be safe at all. The Federal Drug Administration launched a new national  campaign yesterday called BeSafeRX - Know Your Online Pharmacy to help consumers, patients and their caregivers have more confidence to make their pharmaceutical purchases safely, cautiously, and wisely.

Numerous purchasers have already been cheated and fleeced by such online prescription drug sales, according to reporting by the Associated Press, USANews and other reputable sources.  Products may have the wrong and even harmful ingredients, contain too little, too much, or none of the real active ingredient at all, according to a new survey from the Federal Drug Administration.  The recent FDA survey data has shown that almost 25% of consumers who use the Internet have bought some of their prescription medications online, but that a full 30%  feel insecure about the wisdom of doing so.

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Are the risks real?  "Buying medicines from rogue online pharmacies can be risky because they may sell fake, expired, contaminated, not approved by FDA, or otherwise unsafe products that are dangerous to patients," said FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, M.D. in a prepared statement. "Fraudulent and illegal online pharmacies often offer deeply discounted products. If the low prices seem too good to be true, they probably are. FDA's BeSafeRx campaign is designed to help patients learn how to avoid these risks."

But that doesn't mean all online pharmacies should be avoided. "Our goal is to increase awareness," Margaret Hamburg, the FDA Commissioner, told the Associated Press.  We do not intend "to scare people away from online pharmacies. We want them to use appropriate pharmacies."

As reported by CNN, the new FDA campaign recommendations to all consumers when buying drugs online:

Choose an online pharmacy that is located in the United States (a problem as many are in Canada where drugs are cheaper),

* Choose an online pharmacy that requires a "valid" prescription from a doctor, and that provides a licensed pharmacist who is available and accessible  for consultation

*  Check, before making any purchase, that an online pharmacy is licensed by the state board of pharmacy.

Resources can be found here. See a news VIDEO clip, about the new findings and the new FDA campaign. And, for more detailed information on BeSafeRx,  see here.

© 2012 iScience Times All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

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