Buying medications online from other countries is dangerous since many websites claiming to be an Internet pharmacy from a particular country are not located in that country and are in fact operating illegally, as reflected in an article from Consumer Reports. “Most Internet pharmacies claiming to be Canadian are not,” Carmen A. Catizone, MS, RPh, DPh, executive director/secretary of NABP told Consumer Reports. “Frequently, they are fake storefronts selling cheap generics from third world countries.” The article also indicates that even drugs that do come into the US from Canada fall into a “regulatory no-man’s land” that may leave consumers with little recourse if there is a problem with a medication. Instead of purchasing medication through potentially illegal online drug sellers, Consumer Reports suggests patients ask their health care providers about ways to receive discounts on both generic and brand-name medications.
The article also advises consumers to protect themselves by using tools such as NABP’s Recommended List of Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice SitesCM (VIPPS®) when shopping for medications online. NABP developed the VIPPS accreditation program to help consumers in the US find the safest sources for purchasing medications online. NABP encourages consumers to look for the VIPPS Seal and to check NABP’s list of accredited sites on the AWARXE® Prescription Drug Safety Program website.