Buying medications Online – Advice for Consumers

Like many Americans, it seems that every time I check my e-mail my inbox is cluttered with a dozen unsolicited messages from web sites peddling Viagra, Cialis, OxyContin, and any number of other potent medications “without a prescription.”

Ordering prescription medications online can be a safe, affordable, and easy way to have your prescriptions filled. More and more Americans are using the Internet legally to fill prescriptions. Unfortunately, it seems that the vast majority of internet-based pharmacies are questionable at best, and it is becoming more and more difficult to distinguish between legitimate and illegitimate operators.

On September 21, 2005, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration issued a news release to provide the public with information about how to Buy medication online safely.

According to the DEA, the only safe way to obtain a prescription to order from a legitimate online site is to first have a face-to-face meeting with your doctor. He or she will take the necessary steps, to include a physical examination and any tests, to properly diagnose your aliment and prescribe appropriate medications. With a valid prescription from your doctor, you can fill, or refill in many cases, a prescription for a Controlled Substance over the Internet.

Many online pharmacies–and the sources of the drugs they sell—are controlled by individuals operating overseas. That means they may not meet U.S. FDA standards for purity and safety. Consumers utilizing these foreign pharmacies have no idea where the drugs they order originate, if they contain safe ingredients, and if they are what you think they are.

Consumers may think they are dealing with a legitimate doctor as they order drugs on the Internet. In some cases, patients are asked to fill out a questionnaire that is approved by a “doctor.” These forms do not constitute a medical exam, and they do not represent a valid doctor/patient relationship. Any doctor who enables you to buy products online without a valid prescription is breaking the law. He or she can be arrested and lose the ability to practice medicine.

According to the DEA, patients are also breaking the law by ordering without a valid prescription from a doctor.
Children and teens can order illegal drugs on-line easily. A teen can log on to a computer and order drugs with a credit card or money order. In addition, credit card statements do not accurately reflect charges for drugs on the Internet—they are often disguised as benign purchases using false company names.