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Prescription Dangers Associated With Mail Order Pharmacies

David W. Hodges
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Partner at Kennedy Hodges LLP practicing pharmacy error, medical malpractice and personal injury law
Posted on Nov 30, 2013

Many Americans get their prescription medications filled at their local pharmacies like Walgreens or CVS; however, some get their medicines online through mail order pharmacies. Shockingly, about one in four adults turn to the Internet to have their prescriptions filled by an online pharmacy, according to a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) survey.  Although convenient, sending away for medications may cause harm.

According to a study by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP), there are many mail order prescription dangers that people need to be aware of, including:

  • Violations – The NABP investigated 10,065 online pharmacies and found 9,734 to be in violation of the NABP safety and practice standards and state or federal laws.
  • Operating illegally – With the numbers listed above, this means that 97 percent of online pharmacies are operating illegally in the U.S.
  • Bad active ingredients – The researchers found that many online pharmacies were selling fake drugs with no active ingredients or drugs with toxic substances in them. Even expired medication was found to be sold to consumers.

While sending away for medication is convenient and may even save a few dollars, the FDA is warning consumers to be aware of what they are getting in the mail. Unfortunately, not every online pharmacy is licensed or located in the United States of America. For this reason, consumers should do some research on the online pharmacy they are getting their prescriptions through. Additionally, the NABP warns that some online pharmacies operate illegally and are unsafe.

Because there is a lack of standards associated with mail order pharmacies, many people who receive their prescriptions through the mail are not even getting their prescriptions at all. For example, the pills may be the wrong dosage or they may not contain any active ingredient. Due to this shocking information, the FDA launched a national campaign, called BeSafeRx, to warn consumers of the prescription dangers associated with mail order pharmacies.

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