On October 13, a USA Today article featured a report released from the antivirus company McAfee. They found that 70 percent of spam in September was from websites advertizing “Canadian pharmaceuticals.” Further, the only thing that made it “Canadian” was the word Canadian and the maple leaves on the spammers’ web page. The increase in counterfeit drug spam may be due to the rising fears surrounding H1N1 flu, as well as the intensity around the topic of healthcare costs.

Tom T. KubicKubic (sm)

On October 13, a USA Today article featured a report released from the antivirus company McAfee.  They found that 70 percent of spam in September was from websites advertizing “Canadian pharmaceuticals.”  Further, the only thing that made it “Canadian” was the word Canadian and the maple leaves on the spammers’ web page. The increase in counterfeit drug spam may be due to the rising fears surrounding H1N1 flu, as well as the intensity around the topic of healthcare costs.

The Partnership for Safe Medicines (PSM) often warns consumers to stay away from unlicensed online pharmacies, but do consumers to do when they are flooded with emails from seemingly legitimate online pharmacies promising lower drug prices?  The answer lays in being smart when looking for ways to save.  Although promises of low-cost prescription drugs are attractive, PSM reminds consumers to remain wary of online pharmacies–always making sure that the Web site is on the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy’s (NABP) list of Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites (VIPPS).

Consumers should look for the key warning signs of a counterfeit online pharmacy as outlined in our Consumer Resources guide, including:

  • No physical address or telephone number is listed on the Web site
  • Does not have a licensed pharmacist available to answer your questions
  • Does not have any way for you to talk to a person if you have problems
  • Does not ask for the name, address, or phone number of your current doctor
  • Does not require a valid prescription issued by your healthcare practitioner
  • Sells you a prescription or asks you to fill out a questionnaire to receive a prescription
  • Does not participate in any insurance plans and requires payments by credit card
  • Requires that you waive some rights before they send you the drugs
  • Advises you about drug importation laws and why it is permissible for you to obtain prescription drugs from foreign countries via the Internet
  • Encourages you to have the drugs sent to post office

For more information and free resources for safely saving on prescription drugs, visit the consumer information tab at www.safemedicines.org.