FDA: How to Avoid Fake Drugs Online

The Food and Drug Administration is warning the public of the dangers of online pharmacies, and have unveiled a new website to help consumers find safe prescription drugs.

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:

  1. Allow you to buy drugs without a prescription or by completing an online questionnaire.
  2. Offer discounts or cheap prices that seem "too good to be true."
  3. Send unsolicited email or other spam offering cheap medicine.
  4. Ship prescription drugs worldwide.
  5. State that the drugs will be shipped from a foreign country.
  6. Are located outside of the United States.
  7. Are not licensed by a state board of pharmacy in the United States (or equivalent state health authority).


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