You can protect yourself and your family by being cautious when buying medicine online. Some pharmacy websites operate legally and offer convenience, privacy, cost savings and safeguards for purchasing medicines.
Not all websites are the same. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns that there are many unsafe online pharmacies that claim to sell prescription drugs at deeply discounted prices, often without requiring a prescription. These internet-based pharmacies often sell unapproved, counterfeit or otherwise unsafe medicines outside the safeguards followed by licensed pharmacies.
Federal law prohibits buying controlled substances such as narcotic pain relievers (e.g., OxyContin®, Vicodin®), sedatives (e.g., Valium®, Xanax®, Ambien®), stimulants (e.g., phentermine, phendimetrazine, Adderall®, Ritalin®) and anabolic steroids (e.g., Winstrol®, Equipoise®) without a valid prescription from your doctor. This means there must be a real doctor-patient relationship, which by most state laws requires a physical examination. Prescriptions written by "cyber doctors" relying on online questionnaires are not legitimate under the law.
Buying controlled substances online without a valid prescription may be punishable by imprisonment under Federal law. Often drugs ordered from rogue websites come from foreign countries. It is a felony to import drugs into the United States and ship to a non-DEA registrant.
Buying drugs online may not be only illegal, but dangerous. The American Medical Association and state boards of medicine and pharmacy have all condemned the practice of cyber doctors issuing online prescriptions as unacceptable medical care. Drugs delivered by rogue websites may be the wrong drugs, adulterated or expired, the wrong dosage strength, or have no dosage directions or warnings.
You cannot get prescription medicines without a prescription. A legal medicines supplier will never give you prescription medicines if you do not have a prescription from a doctor. Doctors, including online doctors, may only prescribe you medicines if they meet certain conditions. For example, they must have access to your medical records, which must be up to date.
The doctor needs to meet all these conditions to make a correct diagnosis of your medical problem. If they do not, they are not allowed to prescribe you medicines online. Online doctors are not allowed to prescribe medicines based on your answers to an online questionnaire.
Have you found an online supplier that is offering medicines for sale without prescription that usually require a prescription? Be aware: they are selling fake medicines. Using them can seriously damage your health.
Look up the medicine you want to buy in the Medicines Information Bank. It will tell you whether a medicine is only available on prescription. The Information Bank is maintained by the Committee for the Safety of Medicines (CBG).
If you have a complaint about health products purchased online with a major credit card or debit, you may report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centreat firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, managed by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police with the Competition Bureau and Ontario Provincial Police, collects information regarding illegal sites to facilitate law enforcement action against unlawful operations.
If you are buying from websites located outside of Canada, know that there are restrictions when it comes to shipping medications across the border. You cannot legally import a prescription drug unless you are a practitioner, a drug manufacturer, a wholesale druggist, a registered pharmacist, or a resident of a foreign country while a visitor in Canada.
In situations where you may require access to a medically-necessary drug for a serious or life-threatening condition where there is no market authorized drug available in Canada and for which alternative conventional therapies have failed or are unsuitable, Health Canada's Special Access Programme (SAP) is available to help your doctor gain access to these products on your behalf. More information on SAP can be found in the following link: -canada/services/drugs-health-products/special-access/drugs.html.
If you buy a prescription drug or any health product online that has not been authorized for sale in Canada, it may be refused entry or seized at the border. Health Canada continues to seize large quantities of unauthorized products at the border. Your package may be recommended for refusal to the CBSA or seized, if they are suspected to be:
A simple Internet search will turn up hundreds of Web sites that sell drugs. Some Internet pharmacies are legitimate, but many offer products and services that are dangerous. Some sell drugs that are not approved for use in Canada because of safety concerns. Some take advantage of people desperate for relief by offering "miracle cures" for serious illnesses like cancer. Many offer prescription drugs based on answers to an on-line questionnaire. These sites tell you they will save you the "embarrassment" of talking to your doctor about certain prescription drugs, such as Viagra, or drugs to prevent hair loss, or promote weight loss. What they do not tell you is that it is dangerous to take a prescription drug without being examined in person and monitored by a health care practitioner to make sure the drug is helping you.
Buying drugs from Internet pharmacies that do not provide a street address and telephone number may pose serious health risks. You have no way of knowing where these companies are located, where they get their drugs, what is in their drugs, or how to reach them if there is a problem. If you order from these sites, you may get counterfeit drugs with no active ingredients, drugs with the wrong ingredients, drugs with dangerous additives, or drugs past their expiry date. Even if these drugs do not harm you directly or immediately, your condition may get worse without effective treatment.
If you order prescription drugs without being examined and monitored by a health care practitioner, you may be misdiagnosed, and miss the opportunity to get an appropriate treatment that would help you. You may also put yourself at risk for drug interactions, or harmful side effects that a qualified health professional could better foresee.
Buying drugs on the Internet may also pose financial risks. In some cases, the product may not be shipped at all, or if it is coming from another country, it could be stopped at the border by Canadian authorities.
Do tell your doctor and pharmacist about all of the health products you take, including vitamin and natural health products, as well as prescription and over-the-counter drugs. They need this information to assess and advise you about potential side effects and drug interactions.
Health Canada regulates therapeutic drugs in Canada through a rigorous licensing process, which includes an extensive pre-market review and the ongoing post-market assessment of a drug's safety, effectiveness and quality. As part of this process, Heath Canada conducts risk/benefit assessments, monitors adverse reactions, and communicates information about risks to health professionals and the public. All drugs approved for sale in Canada have an eight-digit Drug Identification Number (DIN). The DIN assures you that Health Canada has assessed a drug, and considers it safe and effective when used as directed on the label. The DIN also provides a way to track adverse drug reactions.
Health Canada licenses and conducts regular inspections of companies that manufacture, import and/or distribute drugs. In addition, Health Canada investigates complaints related to the sale or use of therapeutic drugs, including complaints about Web sites that sell drugs, and takes action where appropriate. Also, Health Canada works with the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency to control the illegal entry of prescription and over-the-counter drugs. Individual Canadians are allowed to import a three-month supply of therapeutic drugs, subject to a number of restrictions.
Forty-five percent of American adults, or about 91 million people, take prescription drugs on a regular basis. Forty-one percent of American adults live with someone who regularly takes prescription drugs. In total, 64% of American households have a regular connection to the prescription drug marketplace.
Sixty-two percent of Americans think purchasing prescription drugs online is less safe than purchasing them at a local pharmacy. Twenty percent of Americans think such online purchases are as safe as local purchases. Eighteen percent of Americans responded that they did not know or that it depends on the situation.
Only 4% of Americans have ever purchased prescription drugs on the internet. Three percent of Americans placed the order themselves and 1% had someone else do it. Our survey of 2,200 American adults yielded just 93 people who had purchased prescription drugs online, so this small sample of buyers is subject to a much larger sampling error than applies to the total sample of respondents. Americans living in higher-income households ($50,000+ annually) and internet users with six or more years of online experience are more likely to have made such a purchase.
The small number of Americans who have ordered prescription drugs online are likely to cite convenience and cost savings as the main reasons why they decided to take the leap. Privacy is the least likely factor of the choices offered in the survey.
When asked about the last time they purchased prescription drugs online, the vast majority of Rx purchasers say the site required a prescription and nearly all Rx purchasers say they had a prescription from their doctor. The vast majority of Rx purchasers visited a site that was based in the United States; a few visited a site based in another country and a few do not know where the site is based.
A tiny percentage of Rx purchasers say their last trip to an online pharmacy was in response to an email advertisement. Many more internet users have received unsolicited email advertising drugs, however. 781b155fdc