Illegal Online Drug Outlets Pose Health and Financial Risks to Older Adults

New Campaign Offers Tips to Avoid Rogue Websites: Infographic, video, press release

Low prices and the convenience of shopping online are two driving factors for buying medications on the Internet, making older Americans easy targets for rogue entities illegally distributing medications online.

Seniors and their caregivers may be unaware about the health and financial risks associated with buying medications from online drug outlets. The Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies (ASOP Global), Center for Safe Internet Pharmacies (CSIP), and National Consumers League (NCL) have launched a campaign to educate seniors about buying prescription drugs safely online: see the infographic, watch the video from ASOP and read this important press release.

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Rising drug costs attract seniors to illegal online drug outlets. However, antifreeze, house paint, and floor wax are among the contents patients may find in the medications they buy from unapproved and unknown sources over the Internet, indicates NABP’s Internet Drug Outlet Identification Program Progress Report for State and Federal Regulators: April 2016.

NABP has reviewed over 11,000 websites selling prescription medications online to US consumers and has found approximately 96% of them to be operating illegally, placing patients’ health at risk.

Of the websites identified by NABP as Not Recommended, the majority were found to be dispensing prescription drugs without a valid prescription. These findings include sites dispensing drugs based solely on an online questionnaire, as well as those requiring no prescription at all. Most sites selling drugs illegally online do not post any address, and nearly half have their domain names registered anonymously.

NABP, along with many patient safety advocates, continues to recommend that patients use Internet pharmacies that have a .pharmacy domain name, have been granted Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites® or Veterinary-Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites® accreditation, or have approved e-Advertiser status through the NABP e-Advertiser ApprovalCM Program. These sites have been evaluated by NABP and found to be in compliance with pharmacy laws and meet high standards for pharmacy practice and patient safety.

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