BBB Consumer Warning - On Line Pharmacies

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The BBB and NABP Issue a Consumer Warning that only 4% of over 11,000 Websites Reviewed are selling Prescription Medicines Safely.

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The Better Business Bureau (BBB) of Chicago and Northern Illinois and the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) warn consumers that it is easy to become overwhelmed with choices when shopping online and it can be extremely difficult to determine if you are on a safe website. Furthermore, when buying medicine online, it is especially important to know if you are on a trustworthy site to avoid falling prey to rogue pharmacy sites that sell counterfeit prescription medicine.

Many rogue online drug sellers have sites that appear professional and safe, making it hard to identify which websites are legitimate. These harmful websites may be selling counterfeit drugs (containing too much, too little, or none of the medicine you need) and are a serious concern when buying medicine online. These rogue sites can even put consumers’ financial health at risk, stealing credit card or other personal information.

Chicago and Northern Illinois BBB President and CEO Steve Bernas says, “Consumer protection is a key mission of our organization and nothing could be more important than protecting citizens against counterfeit claims that could impact their health.”

“NABP has been reviewing websites selling prescription medications since 2008 and has found that 96% are out of compliance with United States pharmacy laws and practice standards,” says NABP President Hal Wand, MBA, RPh. “That’s why it is so important for consumers to be informed about avoiding rogue sites.”

The BBB and NABP provide the following tips for shopping for medication safely online:

  • Look for websites with a “.pharmacy” domain. Unlike .com or .biz, which do not require a verification process, websites with the .pharmacy domain undergo NABP’s initial and ongoing evaluations to ensure that they meet a set of safety standards.
  • Avoid sites that dispense prescription medications without a prescription.
  • Be sure the site provides a toll-free phone number where they can be contacted as well as a street address for the pharmacy. Avoid sites that can only be contacted by email.
  • Legitimate pharmacies allow patients to contact pharmacists, whether by phone or secure web-based communication, if they have questions about their medications.
  • Offering limited types of medicines, particularly “lifestyle” or controlled substance medicines that treat such conditions as impotence, obesity, herpes, pain, and acne, are often signs of an untrustworthy site.
  • Internet operations that advertise through spam email messages operate illegally and are not a trustworthy source for obtaining anything, especially something as critical as prescription medicine.

More information on buying medication safely online, as well as a list of .pharmacy websites, is available on the .pharmacy website at http://www.safe.pharmacy/buying-safely

For additional BBB tips on buying medicines on-line visit http://www.bbb.org/articles/2016/10/13/tip-buying-medicine-online/

About the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP)
The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy® (NABP®) is the independent, international, and impartial Association that assists its state member boards and jurisdictions for the purpose of protecting the public health. Founded in 1904, NABP aims to ensure the public’s health and safety through its pharmacist license transfer and pharmacist competence assessment programs, as well as through its VIPPS®, VAWD®, and DMEPOS accreditation programs.

About the Better Business Bureau (BBB)
For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. Last year, people turned to BBB more than 172 million times for BBB Business Reviews on more than 5.3 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. The Council of Better Business Bureaus is the umbrella organization for the local, independent BBBs in the United States, Canada and Mexico, as well as home to its national programs on dispute resolution, advertising review, and industry self-regulation.

BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU®
NEWS RELEASE: MEDIA CONTACTS:

  • Thomas Johnson Director of Public and Board Relations, BBB Serving Chicago & Northern Illinois, tjohnson(at)chicago.bbb(dot)org, 312-245-2643
  • Larissa Doucette, Marketing Senior Manager, 847-391-4405, help(at)nabp(dot)pharmacy

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Tom Johnson
Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois
+1 (312) 245-2643
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