Consumers Warned About Risks of Online Pharmacies

The USFDA has issued a strong warning to alert consumers of the risks of purchasing medications from online pharmacies. On September 28, 2012, ABC World news reported:

“ . . . the FDA is warning that the vast majority, 97% of . . . online pharmacies are not legal. . . [and] a huge majority of [the nearly 40,000 active online pharmacies are] fly by night start-ups, that the DFA warned today sell at a cut-rate price but deliver expired, contaminated and fake drugs that could harm the consumer.”

FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, MD, has been quoted as saying: “You have no assurance of the safety, efficacy or quality of th[e] products [supplied by online pharmacies]”.

Persons who intend to utilize online pharmacies are cautioned by the FDA to take action to protect themselves. According to the agency’s website:

“ Fake online pharmacies can manipulate their websites to appear legitimate, so checking the pharmacy’s license through your state board of pharmacy (or equivalent state agency) is an important step to know whether you are using a sage and legal online pharmacy.”

The FDA suggests further precautions be taken, including limiting your pharmacy choices to those which are included in your state board’s licensed pharmacy database. The FDA warns that “[i]f you cannot confirm that an online pharmacy is licensed in the United States, you should not use [it]”. In addition to confirming license status, the FDA suggests that consumers also make certain that the pharmacy:

  1. Requires a valid physician-issued prescription before they will sell any prescription-based medications;
  2. Has a licensed pharmacist who is available to answer any questions you may have about the medications; and,
  3. Maintains a physical address and telephone number in the United States.

Further information can be found on the USFDA’s website.

Mark Davis is a Shareholder in Stark & Stark’s Lawrenceville, New Jersey office, specializing in Accident & Personal Injury Law. For more information, please contact Mr. Davis.