Since 2006, at least 86 individuals have been charged with the distribution of black market HIV/AIDS medications to American pharmacies, secondary wholesale distributors and patients. In the face of this threat, patients need the tools to identify questionable medicine and to seek better prices safely.
Modern medicines mean that HIV/AIDS patients can live full lives if they have access to reliable, continuous treatment. That treatment, however, can be expensive. Patients seeking better prices on life saving medicines may be taken advantage of by criminals selling black market drugs at ‘discount’ prices. Since 2006, at least 86 individuals have been charged with the distribution of black market HIV/AIDS medications to American pharmacies, secondary wholesale distributors and patients. These cases, which you can read more about in PSM’s Black Market HIV/AIDS Drugs in the News, 2006 – 2013, are just the tip of the iceberg.
Counterfeiters are canny marketers with convincing websites, but they sell medicines that may be expired, contaminated, diluted or damaged during shipping. They substitute cheap ingredients, offer medicines in unfamiliar doses and omit instructions and safety warnings.Their medicine may contain harmful chemicals or no active ingredients at all. Patients who unwittingly buy these drugs risk taking substandard medicines that can lead to higher viral loads, poor health and drug resistance. Because counterfeiters often purchase half used injectable medicines from addicts, these unlucky patients may even be exposed to bloodborne diseases like hepatitis C.
In the face of this threat, patients need the tools to identify questionable medicine and to seek better prices safely.
To save money safely, patients should:
- Consult their doctors about whether adopting generics would be appropriate
- Comparison shop online for the lowest prices for safe, licensed online pharmacies at Pharmahelper.com or among online pharmacies which have earned the National Board of Pharmacy’s VIPPS accreditation
- Compare prices at neighborhood pharmacies on websites such as WeRx.org, LowestMed.com and GoodRX.com
- Seek out discount cards like the NeedyMeds Drug Discount Card, which offer substantially lower prices for un- or underinsured patients