Medicine is rigorously tested for safety and effectiveness before becoming available to the consumer. In the U.S., the FDA makes sure this happens. Once on the market, the FDA, along with the makers of the drug, continue to monitor the medicine for any unforeseen problems. Should an issue develop, or the safety of a medication come into question, a recall may be initiated.
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.
The World Health Organization found that more than half of the drugs sold online and by places that do not show a physical address were fake. Medicines that you buy online from sources that are not regulated can be either too strong or too weak.
Criminals who sell drugs online have one goal: to make money. So they often focus on medicines that are in demand and not available in a lower-cost generic form.
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.