Drug Caution 11/13/11

Published On: Nov 22 2011 09:33:11 PM CST   Updated On: Nov 25 2011 03:26:31 PM CST

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.