Oklahoma Drug Card Media Center

Dangers of Online Pharmacies

The Food and Drug Administration is warning the public that most Internet pharmacies are fraudulent, selling drugs that likely are counterfeit and could harm or even kill people.

Pharmacist at Economy Pharmacy in Tulsa, Chris Schiller, said that he has had inquiries from customers about purchasing prescription medicine from online pharmacies. Schiller said he discourages people from opting to buy prescriptions online unless they know that the pharmacy is reputable.

“When you order online you never know what you are going to get,” said Schiller.

On September 28th the FDA launched a national campaign, called BeSafeRX, to alert the public to the danger.

A recent survey by the agency found nearly one in four Internet shoppers has bought prescription drugs online.

Most don't realize that only about 3 percent of online pharmacies are licensed and following the law. The rest likely are selling fake drugs that won't help patients get better and may contain arsenic or other poisons.

Schiller said that many people are drawn to internet because the pills are advertised at very low prices.

“You might save money but you don’t know what you are going to get in when you buy these medications,” said Schiller, “It might have nothing in it, like a placebo or it may have something harmful in it.”

Schiller says that buyers should be wary of any price that seems too good to be true.

“Whenever you are way below cost its very unlikely the potency of the drug will be there,” Schiller said.

According the FDA there are red flags that will warn you that an online pharmacy is not legitimate:

  • Pharmacies that allow you to buy drugs without a prescription from your doctor
  • Offer deep discounts or cheap prices that seem too good to be true
  • Are located outside of the United States
  • Are not licensed in the United States

Dr. Suzy Willard at Utica Park Clinic says that there are ways to find a good deal on prescription medications in Oklahoma without putting your health at risk. Dr. Willard encourages patients to run there prescriptions through oklahomadrugcard.com

“It will tell them where they can get it at the cheapest rate at local pharmacies,” said Dr. Willard.

Dr. Willard encourages patients to do their homework instead of jumping at a deal that is too good to be true. “It’s not worth it; the harm is too high to do it.”