Buyers in Ohio and around U.S. endangered by online pharmacies

Ohio residents may be interested to learn that while the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversees all pharmaceutical drugs produced and distributed in the United States, it appears that the FDA and international organizations are finding law enforcement more difficult in cyberspace. As buyers seek out cheaper alternatives to purchasing medication in drug stores and pharmacies around the nation, online pharmacies are increasing their presence to take advantage of the available consumer base.

While a handful of these Internet pharmacies are legitimate operations functioning under FDA and international guidelines, many provide potentially dangerous products to unsuspecting customers. According to the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, approximately 97 percent of Internet pharmacies skirted FDA and worldwide standards, instead providing medications that may very well be tainted and detrimental to consumers' health. Conversely, the products can be placebos or contain miniscule amounts of the advertised medication, essentially negating any or all medicinal effects.

Medical Daily reports that the FDA, with the help of several other groups, closed nearly 2,000 illegal online pharmacies in June alone--a startling statistic that showcases the scale of the problem. The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy recommends that consumers remain wary of Internet pharmacies and visit only verified and legitimate sites like those with the Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites (VIPPS) seal displayed on the homepage. Consumers can also visit the VIPPS website to find authentic online pharmacies and avoid falling prey to clever defrauders.

These precautions can only do so much in the future and may have come too late for many consumers harmed by unsafe medications purchased online. Some innocent victims could have reason to pursue pharmaceutical litigation for damages, particularly if the substandard drugs caused notable health problems. It may be time for online pharmacies that knowingly provide illegal drugs to take responsibility for their actions.

Source: Medical Daily, "Rogue internet pharmacies: easy, cheap, but unsafe", Lecia Bushak, July 20, 2013

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