I came across an article the other day with a warning for those who order prescription medication online. Apparently, buying prescription drugs on the Internet can save both time and money, but there is a potential risk that you may not consider.

Carnegie Mellon University, a private, internationally ranked research university, conducted a study and found that when searching for drug information, they were redirected to questionable and/ or illicit pharmacies almost a third of the time.

“Using estimates of the popularity of drug-related search terms and the payment-processing websites used by pharmacies, Carnegie Mellon researchers report that search-engine manipulation is considerably more efficient than email spam.”

According to SELF magazine, 25 percent of medication errors are caused by mix-ups with drugs that have similar names. 

Safe surfing is certainly the lesson here if you want to avoid contaminated, counterfeit or dangerous medications. In a time when so much online information is questionable, it is not a surprise that shady sites could show up during any search.

But how do you know? Who do you trust?

It is recommended that you search the website of a particular online pharmacy instead of typing in the name of the drug in large search engines. To verify a legit pharmacy before ordering, log onto the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy at www.nabp.net/

Once into the site, there is a consumers tab that will make information available at your fingertips including lists of recommended and non-recommended sites for buying medicine online.

If the online pharmacies are operating in conflict with the pharmacy laws and practice standards, they will not fall under the recommended list. Only 4 percent of the sites NABP reviewed are potentially legitimate, based on the criteria.

Do not place orders through any drug site that doesn’t require a prescription or has prices significantly lower than anyone else.

In addition, always ask the prescribing doctor the name of the drug, the correct dosage, any common side effects and know what you are taking the medication for.
The more informed you are, the easier it is to recognize that something might be wrong.

Take care in ordering your medication and, like everything else, research and confirm where and to whom you are giving your money when you order online.

 

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