What is the prescription?
Why do I need this drug?
What will this drug do for me?
How much do I take, how often, and for how long?
Does it matter what time of day I take this drug?
What side effects should I watch for?
What should I do if I have a bad reaction?
How will this drug interact with other prescription or over-the-counter drugs I am taking?
How will this drug interact with vitamins, herbal supplements, or foods?
If I feel better before I finish the prescr...
You can safely buy medicine online if you use online pharmacies recommended by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy. This organization verifies Internet drugstores throughout the United States and most Canadian provinces.
The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy has created a website at www.awarerx.org. You can visit this site to find out which online drugstores are recommended and which aren't.
The drugstore isn't a licensed pharmacy. In the U.S. and Canada, pharmacies are licensed by individual state or provincial governments.
The online drugstore doesn't have a licensed pharmacist available to answer your questions.
The website isn't "secure." This means that any information you type in—your address, your credit card number—could be read and used by anyone who comes across it. Secure websites use special tools to "encrypt" your information. They turn it into a code that other people can't read. You can tell that a website is secure if the URL (the Web address) begins with "https" rather than just "http."
Why should you worry about online drugs?
You could end up buying pills that hurt rather than help.
A research project by the European Alliance for Access to Safe Medicines found that more than half the drugs bought online as part of the project were either fake or were too strong or too weak.2
Criminals who sell drugs online have one goal: to make money. So they often focus on medicines that are in demand. Examples include:2
The weight loss drug Reductil. This drug is no longer sold legally because it has been linked to heart attack and stroke.
Many fake drugs are expertly packaged. They look like the real thing, but they may have been made under very dirty conditions. And they may contain ingredients like chalk, sugar, and flour instead of the medicine you need. In the worst cases, a fake pill will contain drugs or chemicals that could harm you.