Nearly a quarter of U.S. adults, in a recent Food and Drug Administration (FDA) survey, reported having bought prescription drugs online, the agency said last week—but those purchases could carry significant risks.
The FDA is launching a new campaign, BeSafeRX, to educate consumers about the dangers of illegal online pharmacies. Bogus pharmacies sometimes sell drugs that are counterfeit or past their expiration date and/or contain dangerous ingredients, the FDA warned.
Consumers can use the California Board of Pharmacy website to look up a pharmacy and find out if it has a legitimate license.
Here are some additional tips from the FDA's campaign website:
Avoid online pharmacies that:
- Allow you to buy drugs without a prescription or by completing an online questionnaire.
- Offer discounts or cheap prices that seem "too good to be true."
- Send unsolicited email or other spam offering cheap medicine.
- Ship prescription drugs worldwide.
- State that the drugs will be shipped from a foreign country.
- Are located outside of the United States.
- Are not licensed by a state board of pharmacy in the United States (or equivalent state health authority).
Would you feel safe buying prescription drugs online? Have you before? Tell us in the comments.