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6 Signs of Dangerous ‘Internet Pharmacies’

By on October 14, 2012

Buying prescription and over-the-counter drugs on the Internet from a company you don’t know means you may not know exactly what you’re getting.

There are just too many websites that operate ilegal online pharmacies and guess what, most consumers don’t know until its too late. They look legitimate and offer convenience for buying medicines. But these “rogue websites” sell potentially dangerous drugs that have not been checked for safety or effectiveness. You could be buying your ’cause of death’ and not even know it.

These predatory websites often sell unapproved drugs, drugs that contain the wrong active ingredient, drugs that may contain too much or too little of the active ingredient, or drugs that contain dangerous ingredients. The packaging could look the same but the content could be totally bad for your health. The trouble is they are everywhere.

Beware of websites that may look like they carry FDA approved medicines because it could be a fatal fake-out.

Signs of a legitimate and trustworthy website:

  • It’s located in the United States or a stable country.
  • It’s verifiably licensed by a state board of pharmacy, like the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy.
  • It has a licensed pharmacist available to answer your questions.
  • It requires a prescription for prescription medicines from your doctor. It’s illegal to get prescription meds without a medical prescription.
  • It provides contact information and allows you to talk to a person if you have problems or questions.


Another very good way to check on a website’s quality is to look for the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy’s (NABP) Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites™ Seal, also known as the VIPPS® Seal. This seal means that the Internet pharmacy is safe to use because it has met state licensure requirements, as well as other NABP criteria. Visit the VIPPS website to find legitimate pharmacies that carry the VIPPS® seal.

Signs of an unsafe and potentially illegal website

  • They provide drugs with unknown quality or origin.
  • They give you the wrong drug or another dangerous product for your illness.
  • They don’t provide a way to contact the website by phone. Big issue to look for.
  • They offer prices that you know are too good to be true.
  • They sell prescription drugs without a prescription—this is against the law!
  • They may not protect your personal information.

If you plan to buy medicines online, only buy from state-licensed pharmacy websites, preferably located in the U.S. And by all means, don’t buy from websites that sell prescription drugs without a prescription. That’s against the law.


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