This is the web version of SAFEMEDICINES' consumer handout "Save Money Safely on Your Prescriptions from Online Pharmacies". This version contains a number of hyperlinks to counterfeiting-related incidents. You can also download a PDF version of this document (without hyperlinks).
SAFEMEDICINES Teaches You to Save Money Safely on Your Prescriptions from Online Pharmacies
Don't get victimized by criminals or dangerous counterfeit drugs
Always choose a VIPPS-certified online pharmacy: You can find a list at www.vipps.info of pharmacies certified by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy. No other certifying entity is as good as VIPPS.
Compare prices at different VIPPS-certified pharmacies: SAFEMEDICINES found that the same asthma medications available from VIPPS-certified pharmacies ranged in price by up to 50%. It pays to shop around at safe pharmacies.
Look for patient assistance programs: Check with www.NeedyMeds.org and medicineassistancetool.org to see if you qualify for the many hundreds ofprograms that provide low-cost or even free pharmaceuticals to people unable to afford their medication.
Consider generic alternatives: Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about a generic version of your medication.
Are unlicensed online pharmacies dangerous?
Many uncertified online pharmacies are not pharmacies at all: Many uncertified “online pharmacies” are large criminal organizations that make money by selling fake drugs with little or no active ingredient. They are widely advertised through email spam and have convincing sounding names like “Trusted Pharmacy Co, UK” and look authentic. They usually reside in countries with little ability to enforce fraud and counterfeiting laws. The organizations not really pharmacies and they are not accredited by the National Board of Pharmacies or regulated by the FDA .
Lethal Ingredients Or No Ingredients:The drugs these organizations are selling are not tested, verified, or deemed reliable by any regulatory agency in the US or abroad. In fact, there is no way for you to verify what the medicine you receive in the mail of are made of at all! They could be made of floor wax, talc, carcinogenic solvents, heavy metals or drugs you didn’t ask for. Unsuspecting victims have sickened and died from ingesting counterfeit medications that either poisoned them, or by failing to treat the conditions they ordered the drugs for.
Unusual Side Effects - Identity Theft, Extortion and Computer Infection: When you purchase drugs from an unreliable rock-bottom priced online drugstore, you’re giving your credit card number, address and phone number to criminals. These criminals have used this information for identity theft, committed fraud with their patient's credit cards, infected their customers with computer viruses, and recently begun extorting money from patients who thought they had violated the law.