With the costs of medication rising, consumers are on the lookout for discounts on the drugs they need. PSM’s Timothy Mackey offered CNN some helpful tips on how to ensure the online pharmacy you are doing business with is a legitimate source of medication.
From generic drugs to prescription drug coupons and prescription assistance programs, CNN has several helpful suggestions for saving money on the medication consumers need. When discussing online pharmacies however, they turned to PSM’s 2012 Alsberg Fellow, Dr. Tim Mackey for answers on how to save money buying medication online without ending up with dangerous fake drugs.
Dr. Mackey describes the minefield that today’s estimated 35,000 online pharmacies pose to the average consumer in ‘Digital danger: a review of the global public health, patient safety and cyber-security threats posed by illicit online pharmacies.’
Dr. Mackey, told CNN that “If you go to online pharmacies, there’s a host of drugs they sell.” He also explained that of the avalanche of drug-buying options, you will see available “products you shouldn’t be able to get,” such as vaccines, controlled substances and drugs in critical shortage.
Dr. Mackey did offer helpful suggestions for verifying if the online pharmacy you are doing business with is selling genuine medication:
- Checking your online pharmacy via VIPPS, the Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites verification system provided by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy
- Checking the safety of the url for your online pharmacy using the Legitscript online computational tool for verifying that your online pharmacy follows all U.S. rules and regulations
If you approach buying medication online without using these free verification tools, Dr. Mackey warns, “You’re taking a risk. Expired or counterfeit, the drug’s not going to be effective when you use it.”
As CNN notes, “For a drug intended to be life-saving — such as an EpiPen — unless it’s the real deal, you could die.”