On Your Side

Drug Caution 11/13/11

If you're considering shopping online for drugs from other countries, Consumer Reports says don't do it!

Molly Clevenger takes prescription medicines every day. She's considered buying from websites outside the U-S. Molly Clevenger, "When push came to shove I just really thought - where is this coming from?" But a Consumer Reports National Research Center survey found that in the past year, nearly three million people have ordered a prescription drug from an online pharmacy outside the U-S. What's wrong with that? Dr. John Santa Consumer Reports Medical Adviser "Any website located outside the U.S. does not fall under the Food and Drug Administration's oversight. The reality is - you cannot be certain of what you're getting when you buy from these sites." And it's not just websites outside the U-S. In a review of more than 83-hundred online pharmacies, the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, or N-A-B-P, found a majority don't require a valid prescription. And nearly half sell drugs that are not approved by the F-D-A. In all, the N-A-B-P found only a fraction of the online pharmacies reviewed - just over three percent - appear to be legitimate. Molly Clevenger didn't want to take any chances


Molly Clevenger, "Bottom line: I just wasn't sure that the pill I took out of the bottle was gonna be the right stuff." But Consumer Reports says there are ways to shop safely online. Stick with pharmacies you know, like Walmart, C-V-S, or Target. And always look for this VIPPS symbol. It means the pharmacy is located in the U-S, dispenses only FDA-approved medication, and requires a prescription from your doctor. As for saving money, almost every big-box and chain-store pharmacy offers a discount generic-drug program.
You can find a month's supply of certain popular medications for as little as four dollars.
I'm Martha Koloski with today's On YOur Side.

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