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Possible Dangers of Buying Medicines Over the Internet

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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