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4 Risks To Avoid When Buying Medications From Online Pharmacies

Aug 17, 2007
With the increasing price of prescription medications, many consumers are finding it more difficult to afford the price of prescriptions. Due to this, many such consumers are looking for alternate ways to find affordable medications. One of these avenues are purchasing medicines online. While doubtless it is possible to save a good bit of money by purchasing medicines online, consumers should be aware of all the facts; including risks, before buying online.

Risk # 1 - Inferior Quality Medications

One risk related to purchasing medicines online, is the possibility that you may receive medication that is not good quality. Even worse, the medication you receive could possibly be contaminated.

Sometimes, the products that have been marketed on the internet have been eventually discovered to either contain no medicine at all or a different medicine than the name under which it was marketed. In other cases, medication was sold stating that it contained a dosage that it did not. For example, it might have been marketed as a 500 mg dose when in reality, it only contained 100 mg. All these possibilities pose a particular danger if you are reliant on a medication.

Risk # 2 - Interactions With Other Medications

Another danger related to purchasing medications online involves the possibility of obtaining a medication without a prescription. Many medications are regulated by prescription for several very good reasons. First, most medications have properties which may react adversely with other medicines.

If you obtain medication online without a valid prescription and are unaware of the interactions it may have with other medications you are taking or conditions you may have; this may create a serious and life threatening situation.

Risk # 3 - Medications Not Approved by The FDA

Some websites offer to sell medications that have not yet been approved by the FDA. While it can be a lengthy and time consuming process to wait for the FDA to approve a drug, the process is in place with good reason. Taking medications that have not yet been approved by the FDA may expose you to all sorts of health risks.

Risk # 4 - Illegal Foreign Drugs

Sometimes you have no way of knowing if the medications you are buying online are actually coming from foreign countries. It is actually illegal to import medications into the United States from foreign countries. One reason this is illegal is because medications that have been produced outside the United States have been manufactured without quality assurance guidelines. This means they may be unsafe and dangerous. By purchasing medications online from a foreign country you may be putting yourself at risk for health issues as well as legal problems.

These warnings are not to say that you should never purchase medicines online. There are some companies which are perfectly legitimate and provide safe products at a reasonable price. To make sure that you are purchasing from a legitimate company and not a company that is merely trying to run a scam by offering unsafe products, there are a few things you can do.

First, make sure that the online company you are purchasing from is a licensed pharmacy. Do not just take their word for it. Check with the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy at their website to find out if the company you are interested in is a member.

Avoid buying from companies that do not appear to be based in the United States and offer to sell you medications without a prescription or to write you a prescription. This is a recipe for disaster.

By taking heed of the pitfalls detailed above, you can purchase medications online with confidence and save on your medication expenses.
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