When getting a prescription filled, some people visit their neighborhood pharmacy and others visit the Internet to purchase their medicines from online pharmacies. Whether it is to get the best price on the drug in order to save a few bucks or the convenience of getting it delivered to the door, many Americans purchase their prescription medications via online pharmacies.
An Internet survey, conducted by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) questioned 6,090 adults about where they purchased prescription drugs. The results revealed that one in four bought their medications online, but three in ten said they weren’t confident they could do so safely.
Now the FDA is warning consumers about the lack of practice standards associated with the majority of online pharmacies. According to a recent study by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP), which is the board representing the state agencies that license U.S. pharmacies, the majority of online pharmacies operate illegally and are unsafe.
The study results included:
- 9,734 of the 10,065 online pharmacies the NABP investigated violated NABP safety and practice standards and/or state and federal laws.
- This equates to a violation by 97% of online pharmacies, which means that only 3% follow state and federal laws.
- These 97% of online pharmacies are also illegal in the United States.
- Many of these pharmacies claim to be in the U.S. Some claim to be Canadian, but very few actually are.
- Many are selling expired, contaminated and fake drugs with no active ingredient or medication that is not approved by the FDA. Even toxic substances such as rat poison and arsenic have been found.
In light of this study, the FDA has launched a national campaign, called BeSafeRx, to warn consumers about purchasing from online pharmacies and the risks involved. The medications consumers can receive through various rogue online sites can be extremely dangerous that could cause potential harm to them.
The FDA announced that they want consumers to use pharmacies located in the U.S. and are licensed by the pharmacy board in the person’s state. FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said, “Our goal is to increase awareness, not scare people away from online pharmacies. We want them to use appropriate pharmacies.”
Consumers should consult the board of pharmacy website in the state they reside in to make sure the pharmacy they are using has a legitimate license. For example, if you live in Texas, visit the Texas State Board of Pharmacy here.
If you have been harmed through pharmacy malpractice, call Kennedy Hodges, a pharmacy error law firm, for a free consultation at 888-526-7616 and a FREE copy of our report, How to Make Pharmacies Pay for Injuries Caused by Medication Errors.