It's sometimes cheaper and easier to buy medication online, and in some cases you don't even need a doctor. More than ever, patients are turning to the Internet to buy less expensive prescription drugs.
But the FBI now warns that fraud looms, and stresses the need to protect yourself from illegal online pharmacies. Drug pushers today are no longer just thugs.
Some shady businesses take your money and never ship a product. Others fill orders without prescriptions, or have doctors that just take a quick glance at your brief medical questionnaire. Still others may peddle products that are questionable, at best. They could be expired, counterfeit, mislabeled, adulterated or contaminated.
If you are buying controlled medications over the Internet, make sure you are dealing with a licensed, certified pharmacy and that you obtain the prescription from a physician you personally know and trust.
According to FBI.gov, legitimate pharmacies:
- Make you submit a detailed medical history;
- Require a prescription from a licensed doctor, usually by mail (if they accept a fax copy, they will always call your doctor to verify the prescription);
- Clearly state their payment, privacy, and shipping fees on their sites; and
- Use secure or encrypted website connections for transactions.
Many legitimate online pharmacies are also certified by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy—check its website for a listing. Some of the larger Internet pharmacies may not be certified because of their already well-recognized names.