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NABP Findings Underscore Dangers of Purchasing Prescription Medicine Online and From Foreign Sources
Date:10/23/2008

MOUNT PROSPECT, Ill., Oct. 23 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With the number of visitors to Internet drug outlets nearly tripling in the last year, the risk to patients' health is higher than ever. Based on its assessment of more than 1,000 Internet drug outlets selling medicine online, the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy(R) (NABP(R)) finds that 97% of these sites appear to be operating out of compliance with state and federal laws or established patient safety and pharmacy practice standards. Most of these sites appear to violate several criteria for legitimate pharmacy practice. For instance, 93% do not require a valid prescription, 25% do not secure patients' personal information, and 61% offer foreign drugs, which are not approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and which, according to federal law, are not legal to sell in the US.

"NABP understands the need for many patients to consider cost in regard to their prescription medications," says NABP President Rich Palombo, RPh. "Our hope, however, is that no one should have to sacrifice safety in the interest of saving money."

NABP historically has viewed the use of medications obtained from foreign sources cautiously for two reasons: (1) federal law prohibits it, and (2) proponents have yet to develop provisions to ensure patients receive safe, effective medications. Currently, no safeguards exist to protect shipments of foreign medications entering the US from infiltration by counterfeit and substandard drugs. Until such provisions are in place, use of foreign medicines will present a risk.

Foreign medicines are often purchased from Internet drug outlets, the majority of which have been found to be operating outside of the regulatory framework established to protect patient health. "Buying drugs online continues to be fraught with fraudsters," MarkMonitor reports in its summer 2008 Brandjacking Index(TM). In its survey of nearly 3,000 Internet drug outlets, MarkMon
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SOURCE National Association of Boards of Pharmacy
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