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Risks Associated with Online Pharmacies

Mar 6, 2008
The benefits of online pharmacies are great, which has led many traditional patients to switch over to the Internet for prescriptions. There are cost reductions, confidential transactions, and even overnight FedEx shipping. But what consumers seem to forget is that there are indeed several risks to look out for when using an online pharmacy.

Risk with Foreign Pharmacies

Foreign pharmacies tend to have some of the cheapest drugs around. There are several reasons for this- from economic conditions to different production environments. But this low cost is often associated with generic forms of brand name prescription medication. While this in itself isn't a bad thing if the generic version is legit, many times scams are created that sell fake medication to unknowing patients.

Foreign pharmacies also commonly sell prescribed medications without the proper prescription that some countries demand. The United States, for instance, has a food and drug administration that oversees prescriptions, among other things. It is currently against the law for anyone to purchase such prescription drugs from foreign sources- something that could potentially get an unknowing patient in legal trouble.

Lastly, foreign pharmacies might not always have the same sanitary standards that other countries have. This is due to a difference in laws and regulations that countries have. In some cases, the lack of sanitation or poor production environments can cause more harm than good.

Personal and Financial Information Risks

There are also risks to one's financial and personal information. It is important to only trust both of these types of information with trusted websites. Be sure to read the Privacy Policy of each pharmacy you visit, just to make sure your details are safe.

While the financial information such as credit card numbers is self-explanatory, personal information can be exploited just as easy. Selling a customer's address or email address to advertisers is just one way that companies can make money of their customers. Again, check the privacy policy to ensure online pharmacies will not engage in this practice.

Dangers of Some Medicines

Some types of medicine are rather dangerous if not taken with care. This is the reason why the FDA regulates prescription drugs- since a physician will need to do background checks and ask certain questions.

Online pharmacies can be legit, however, since a pharmacist may email or call a patient to ensure they are good candidates for a particular drug. But since you are not interacting with the physician face to face, be sure to give them all the information you can. Some drugs, such as Viagra, can be particularly harmful to a select group of individuals- this is just one example of why the FDA places such importance on online pharmacies.

Final Thoughts on Risks Associated with Online Pharmacies

If the FDA wasn't completely satisfied with the legal online pharmacies, they wouldn't exist. This means that getting a prescription over the internet isn't bad at all- just make sure that you know the company well enough before purchasing from them.

Checking user testimonials or reviews on websites that are not associated with the company is always a good idea before proceeding with a purchase. Talking to friends or family members about their experiences can also help prevent hardships from arising. But there isn't usually anything to be worried about the FDA tends to keep online pharmacies in line with regulations and procedures.
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