An online pharmacy recently advertised a generic version of a popular heart medication in a national magazine. The drug’s price: $35.88. The usual price, according to the ad: $585.
If a drug is so cheap that the price seems, well, insane, the pills are probably counterfeit. And many of those fake drugs are sold online: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration took action against 4,100-plus online pharmacies in October 2012, in some cases shutting down sites. Yet many continue to hawk possibly bogus meds, with dangers ranging from the wrong active ingredients (or no active ingredients) to superpotent or dangerously diluted ingredients.
So what are your warning signs? In addition to a ridiculously low price (and some savvy online pharmacies raise their prices to seem more legit, says Thomas Kubic, president of the Pharmaceutical Security Institute), avoid pharmacies that don’t require you to have a prescription. Before you buy, check with the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (nabp.net) to make sure a site meets U.S. pharmaceutical standards. Your smartest option, however, may be to avoid online pharmacies entirely. “The Internet would be the last place I’d buy drugs,” says Kubic. “There are just too many uncertainties.”
I will never order meds from an offshore pharmacy. I believe in the FDA