Risks of Buying Prescription Drugs Online - WBAY

Target 2 Consumer Alert

Risks of Buying Prescription Drugs Online

Updated:

Buying prescription drugs online and outside the U.S. might be cheaper and more convenient, but it comes with serious risk.

Online pharmacies may sell at a cut rate price, but the FDA says they can deliver expired, contaminated and fake drugs.

Nina Ossana says her sister was lured into buying mass quantities from questionable providers.  The drugs were obtained online and over the phone.  Sadly, her sister took her own life and Nina is determined to find out why.

"My sister was a police officer and she had a very stressful job and she was taking prescription drugs."

"In the weeks after she died, I got 100,000 doses of these drugs. There is no reason for anyone to have that many doses of any drugs."

"I had her cell phone and she would get 33 calls a day. The vendors would call and say, 'I just sent your prescriptions. I just sent your drugs to you - can I send you more?'" said Ossana.

Nina discovered her sister was buying drugs from other countries.

"When you aren't buying it from a reputable source, I wondered, was there something else in the drugs? Was it really what it was supposed to be? Were there impurities? Did it cause her to commit suicide?"

Postal inspectors say buying drugs outside the U.S. is dangerous.

Telemarketers lure customers with cheaper prices and convenience.  The elderly, poor or those with an addiction are often easy prey.

"Do not trust your health to these overseas vendors," said Quiana Valentine, U.S. Postal Inspector.  "We don't know exactly what is in the pills, the potency, how they will interact with other drugs you're currently taking."

Postal inspectors and agents from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration are working together to trace the origin of these packages Nina's sister received.

"What I want is for no other family and friend to have to go through what I went through with my sister," said Nina.

According to the Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies, only about two percent are legitimate.

The FDA says watch out for sites that allow you to buy drugs without a prescription, offer deep discounts that seem to good to be true, send unsolicited emails offering cheap drugs and are outside the U.S. beyond the reach of regulators.

The FDA has online resources on safely buying medicine over the internet:

http://1.usa.gov/PHiFX

The FDA "BeSafeRX" website allows consumers to check a pharmacy's license through state boards of pharmacy, as well as providing tips for shopping online and seeing the signs of a fake pharmacy:

http://1.usa.gov/SgVead

 

 

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