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

itor "found numerous examples of con artists who hijack well-known brands for their own profit and continue to thrive by selling illicit drugs, endangering consumers' health and well-being." Meanwhile, the number of visits to Internet drug outlets continues to rise. The report cites 99,000 visitors to Internet drug outlets by the second quarter of 2008, compared to 32,000 visitors by the same time last year.

Depending on the country of origin, the likelihood of foreign medications being counterfeit may be significant. The World Health Organization estimates that counterfeit drugs range from less than 1% in developed countries to more than 30% in some developing countries. Drug counterfeiting occurs less frequently in the US than in other countries due to the strict regulatory framework that governs the production of drug products and the distribution chain, and enforcement against violators.

Web sites that sell medicine over the Internet may not be legitimately licensed pharmacies in any country, or they may dispense medicine obtained from anywhere in the world. When patients do choose to purchase medicine over the Internet, FDA advises them to use Internet pharmacies that are accredited through the Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites(TM) (VIPPS(R)) program. These sites, displaying the VIPPS seal of approval, have undergone and successfully completed the rigorous NABP accreditation process, which includes a thorough review of all policies and procedures regarding the practice of pharmacy and dispensing of medicine over the Internet, as well as an on-site inspection of facilities used by the site to receive, review, and dispense medicine. Unless medications have been purchased from a state-licensed Internet pharmacy in the US, the safety and efficacy of these medications cannot be guaranteed.

To educate and empower patients to make informed decisions when buying medicine online, NABP monitors Web sites that sell prescription medicine and di
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SOURCE National Association of Boards of Pharmacy
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
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