Do you use an online pharmacy to buy medicine? It’s buyer beware, says the FDA

Do you use an online pharmacy to buy medicine?  it's buyer beware, FDA says

It may be tempting to buy prescription drugs online, but shoppers should beware, the US Food and Drug Administration warns.

While some pharmacy websites operate legally and may offer convenience, privacy and lower costs, others may be selling unapproved, counterfeit and unsafe drugs, the FDA advises.

There are many unsafe online pharmacies that offer prescription drugs without a prescription and sell them at “deep discounts”.

These pharmacies may use fake “storefronts” designed to mimic licensed pharmacies. They may imply or say that their drugs come from countries with high safety standards, according to the FDA.

Yet what they are selling could be made anywhere without safety or efficiency. The drugs may also be counterfeit or expired.

Be wary if the online pharmacy doesn’t require a doctor’s prescription, the FDA warned. Other red flags: The pharmacy is not licensed in the US or by your Board of Pharmacy and does not have a licensed pharmacist on staff to answer questions.

You should also be wary of medicine that looks different from what you get at a regular pharmacy, comes in damaged packaging, is labeled in a foreign language, has no expiry date or has expired.

A price that seems too good to be true is another warning sign.

An unsecure online pharmacy may not provide clear written protections about protecting your personal and financial information, may charge you for products you never ordered or received, or sell your information to others.

The medicines from these pharmacies may contain too much or too little of the active ingredient that treats your condition. They may contain other active substances or harmful substances.

These medications may not help you, but may also unexpectedly interact with other medications you take, cause allergic reactions, or have dangerous side effects. They may not have been stored properly, which could render them ineffective.

Despite all these problems, it is still possible to find a safe online pharmacy.

The FDA suggests looking for a doctor who always requires a prescription, provides a US address and phone number, and has a licensed pharmacist on staff to answer your questions.

This online pharmacy should be licensed by the state board of pharmacy. You can check your pharmacy’s license in your state’s Board of Pharmacy database using the locator tool on the FDA’s BeSafeRx website. Do not use a pharmacy that is not registered.

More information:
The National Association of Pharmacists has stepped up efforts to shut down illegal online pharmacies.

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Quotation: Do you use an online pharmacy to buy medicine? Buyer beware, FDA says (2022, November 18) Retrieved November 19, 2022 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-11-online-pharmacy-buy-meds-buyer.html

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