We have all received the “junk email” from internet pharmacies promising the fast and convenient delivery of inexpensive medications. With the ridiculous pricing of drugs in the US, it is no wonder these internet pharmacies have become very popular. However, and as Elmer Fudd used to say, “be very, very careful.”
The Governmental Accountability Office (GAO) found 1,400 of these online pharmacies in existence as of 2004. Many of these businesses will sell anybody prescription drugs regardless of their health history or what other drugs they may be taking. One example of the types of problems with online pharmacies comes from our neighboring state of North Carolina. It appears a Rockingham, North Carolina physician told his state’s Medical Board that he provided treatment to 244,000 patients in just 8 months by approving questionnaire requests for medications for the online pharmacy, RX Medical. He often wrote 3,000 prescriptions per day and never saw a single one of these “patients.” He was paid $3 for each patient – not bad money! Read the Medical Board of North Carolina’s Proceedings here.
My advice is to stick with a local pharmacist to fill your prescriptions. You doctor, who knows you and your medical history, will examine you face-to-face and will write your prescription. Your pharmacist will (and should) know about your medical history and your current medications. The savings obtained through online pharmacies may not outweigh the risks.