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FDA Launches Education Program to Combat Dangerous Online Pharmacies

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If you think you can save a buck or two or skirt having to go to the doctor by purchasing your prescription drugs from Internet pharmacies, I would think again. According to the Food and Drug Administration, the prescription drugs sold at Internet pharmacies are commonly counterfeit and could be harmful to your heatlh.

In an effort to stem the problem, the FDA is starting a program called BeSafeRx that will help to educate the public on the dangers of buying prescription drugs online. These counterfeit medications may contain no active ingredient, may be contaminated or be past their expiration date. Worse yet, some of the medications may contain the wrong ingredients or even contain rat poison or arsenic. Obviously, with these types of risks, it doesn't make much sense to attempt to save money or time by purchasing from online pharmacies. In fact, using drugs from online pharmacies could lead to drug interactions, resistance and tolerance, and even death.

Unfortunately, Internet pharmacies are still very popular and the FDA found that only 3% follow state and federal laws. Most consumers aren't aware of how dangerous Internet pharmacies are, but the FDA has taken more strident action after several counterfeit drugs reached the hands of American consumers this year. The FDA warns that many online pharmacies claim to be based out of Canada and prominently display the Canadian flag to help consumers feel like they are purchasing from a safe country. Don't be fooled by low prices and seemingly "professional" looking websites–if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.