Buying Medicine Online
The majority of websites selling medications are not what they appear to be. NABP has reviewed over 11,000 online drug outlets and found that 96% percent appear to be operating in conflict with pharmacy laws and practice standards. What does this mean? If you buy from one of these sites, you might:
- Receive pills that contain such fillers as drywall and rat poison
- Have your financial and other personal information stolen
- Have your email inbox flooded with spam that could infect your home computer with viruses
In the worst cases, people have died from receiving counterfeit medications that didn’t treat their serious medical conditions.
Knowing which websites are safe and which ones are not can be confusing. To help you make an informed choice, and as part of its mission to protect the public health, NABP has worked with its member boards of pharmacy to launch several programs to help protect you and your loved ones from the risks that rogue websites pose.
Launched in late 2014, the .pharmacy Top-Level Domain (TLD) program provides an easy way for consumers to identify safe and legal online pharmacies and for the operators of those websites to stand out from the rogue crowd. If a website has “.pharmacy” at the end of its web address, you can rest assured that online pharmacy is operating legally.
The AWARXE Prescription Drug Safety program seeks to educate the public about proper medication use, safely buying medicine online, and proper medication disposal. Among a variety of resources, the site features reports that describe the characteristics of rogue websites and a list of Not Recommended Sites.
If you see an online pharmacy that displays the VIPPS (Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites) or Vet-VIPPS (Veterinary-Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites) Seals, you know that it has successfully undergone NABP’s rigorous screening process, which includes a thorough review of all policies and procedures as well as an on-site inspection of all facilities used by the site to receive, review, and dispense medicine.
If you still have questions about the legitimacy of a particular Internet drug outlet, contact your state board of pharmacy and the state board of pharmacy for the state in which the Internet drug outlet is located.