Illegal Online Pharmacies: Have You Been Fooled?
Apr 01, 2019
If it looks too good to be true, it probably is. This saying holds true for illegal online pharmacies.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) warn consumers to be cautious when surfing the Internet — especially when purchasing medications.
Your local pharmacist's website is not the same as the unknown and unverified websites the FDA and NABP are warning consumers about. That means there's no concern with engaging with your local pharmacist on his or her pharmacy website.
Last year, the FDA issued warnings to many websites that have been illegally marketing opioid medications. These illegal online pharmacies may be selling other medications in addition to opioids. Regardless of all of this effort to stop these websites from operating, the sites will continue to exist because they start operating under new names.
These websites are illegally marketing unapproved and misbranded versions of medications, including opioids. That means these purchases could be dangerous for consumers. Although these medications are being marketed as real, they may be contaminated, fake or expired, making them unsafe.
The NABP routinely warns consumers about medications purchased from unknown and unverified websites. That's because consumers who buy medications from these sites can end up with counterfeit drugs or medications that are filled with drywall and rat poison. In addition, these unverified websites may steal your personal and financial information or give you computer viruses.
The NABP (.pharmacy) recommends avoiding websites that:
- Dispense prescription medications without a prescription
- Dispense foreign or unapproved medications
- Refer or link patients to sites that facilitate the dispensing of prescription medications that are in violation of state or federal law or NABP standards
Your local pharmacy's website is not the same as these unverified websites. If you have a relationship with your pharmacist, you can assume his or her website is a safe way to refill and order your prescriptions.
Examples of unverified pharmacy websites include the following:
Written by Anyssa Garza, PharmD, BCMAS