Beware of Online Pharmacies

There are many online pharmacies that advertise prescription drugs without having to visit a doctor. But you must be aware that many of these websites have an initial consultation fee which range anywhere from 25 to 125 dollars. This fee is added to the costs of the medicine and the shipping costs to getting the medicine to you.

Lets say you pay somewhere in the middle of 80 dollars for a consultation fee, which is just filling out a questionnaire. Add to this the cost of the medicine which could be 150 dollars and 25 dollars for shipping. This would be more than what it would cost to visit a doctor. You have to ask yourself is it worth the convenience. Also the doctor would know more about your personal health history and be more interested in your personal safety. With a doctor’s visit you also receive a consultation fee but they also consult the physician, monitor your intake of the medicine, and screen the medicine. The Internet bypasses these safety precautions by selling medicine online without the safety net of personal monitoring by a physician.

The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy represents the official board that grants licensees to pharmacies in every state. They developed the Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites (VIPPS) program in 1999. In order to be VIPPS certified the pharmacy must be compliant with the regulations and laws in the state that it operates in as well as the states that it offers its services in. In many cases this means all 50 states. Some of the aspects that must be followed have to deal with patient privacy, availability of meaningful consultation with a pharmacist, security online, and an assurance of quality. This is a list of some pharmacies which are certified online.

The United States Food and Drug Administration has taken steps to regulate pharmacies which operate online as well. In July of 2000 the FDA teamed up with attorney generals of every state, as well as regulatory agencies, to thwart the illegal dealings of some pharmacies which operate over the Internet. Presently there are around 400 websites operating through the Internet illegally or with questionable practices. Many of these Internet pharmacies are computer and not office based so they are difficult to find and shut down.

Even though Federal authorities have tried to protect the consumer new Internet pharmacies show up every day. It is up to the consumer to be responsible if using Internet pharmacies. The FDA has published a set of guidelines specifically for consumers who order their medication online. These guidelines urge only to use online pharmacies which are VIPPS certified. Also The FDA urges any consumer to talk to a doctor before ordering any medication online. For more information on these guidelines you can log onto or call 1-888-INFOFDA.

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