The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) launched on Sept. 28 a national campaign aimed at raising consumers’ awareness about fraudulent Internet pharmacies.
According to the FDA news release, the “BeSafeRx – Know Your Online Pharmacy” program is designed to educate consumers about the dangers of buying medicine from fake online pharmacies and help them safely buy medicines online.
A new FDA survey found that nearly 1 in 4 Internet consumers purchased prescription medicine online, and nearly 30 percent said they lacked confidence about how to make safe online purchases. The risk of purchasing from a rogue seller is high, with the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy reporting that less than 3 percent of online pharmacies meet state and federal laws.
“Buying medicines from rogue online pharmacies can be risky because they may sell fake, expired, contaminated, not approved by FDA, or otherwise unsafe products that are dangerous to patients,” said FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, M.D. “Fraudulent and illegal online pharmacies often offer deeply discounted products. If the low prices seem too good to be true, they probably are. FDA’s BeSafeRx campaign is designed to help patients learn how to avoid these risks.”
The agency recommends that patients and caregivers should only buy prescription medicines from online pharmacies that are located in the US; require a valid prescription from a doctor or other health care professional; have a licensed pharmacist available for consultation; and are licensed by the patient’s state board of pharmacy.