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Possible Dangers of Buying Medicines Over the Internet

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How to Protect Yourself

Counterfeit drugs are fake or copycat products that can be difficult to identify. The deliberate and fraudulent practice of counterfeiting can apply to both brand name 

  • Only buy from state-licensed pharmacy Web sites located in the U.S.
  • Don't buy from Web sites that sell prescription drugs without a prescription.
  • Don't buy from Web sites that offer to prescribe a drug for the first time without a physical exam by your doctor or by answering an online questionnaire.
  • Check with your state board of pharmacy or the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy to see if an online pharmacy has a valid pharmacy license and meets state quality standards.
  • Look for privacy and security policies that are easy to find and easy to understand.
  • Don't give any personal information, such as a social security number, credit card information, or medical or health history, unless you are sure the Web site will keep your information safe and private.
  • Use legitimate Web sites that have a licensed pharmacist to answer your question.
  • Make sure that the Web site will not sell your personal information, unless you agree.

Report unsafe or suspicious sites to FDA by going to http://www.fda.gov/Safety/ReportaProblem/ucm059315.htm.

ALERT: For a list of drugs that you should NOT buy online because of special safety restrictions, visit www.fda.gov/cder/consumerinfo/dontBuyonNet.htm.  

For more information, you can also visit FDA's Consumer Safety Guide on Buying Prescription Medicine Online at  http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/ResourcesForYou/ucm080588.htm.

For more information about topics for your health, visit the FDA Consumer Information Center (www.fda.gov/consumer). 

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