Consumers have lots of options for buying prescription drugs these days. But be cautious – counterfeit drugs are on the climb. You might chuck your money away on ineffective drugs, or even inferior you could be harmed by taking drugs that aren’t what they play to be.
- Know your medications. If you know the size, shape, color, taste, and side effects of the prescriptions you take, you will easily recognize likely counterfeits. Contact your pharmacist or doctor if you observe anything unlike about a medication.
- Pay attention to packaging. Check for modified or unsealed containers, or alteration in the packaging or label. Contact your pharmacist or doctor if you notice any changes.
- Purchase only prescribed medicines from a safe, reputable source. If the vendor is strange verify with your state board of pharmacy or the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy at www.nabp.net (click on “Who We Are” on the left and then “Boards of Pharmacy” for a list of state boards) or call 1-847-698-6227. These sources can notify you if the pharmacy is licensed.
- When you buy medications online, make definite the retailer is properly licensed. Some sites display a seal, such as the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy’s VIPPS seal, as evidence that the site has met state and federal requisites. Trading with pharmacies that display the VIPPS seal, which signifies they are Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Site, or other related certification seals, gives you more assurance that they and the products they sell are genuine. See a list of VIPPS-accredited pharmacies at: http://www.nabp.net/vipps/consumer/listall.asp
- If you think you have bought a counterfeit drug, report it. Contact the pharmacist who sold you the medication. Your pharmacist will know if there has been a legal change in the color, shape, taste or packaging of the medication. You can also report your qualms to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). If you bought the drug by mail, by telephone, or in person, contact the FDA’s Medwatch program at 1-800-332-1088 or at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch/. To report a counterfeit drug that you bought on the Internet, use the online form at http://www.fda.gov/oc/buyonline/buyonlineform.htm or call the Medwatch number. Also, ask your doctor for medical advice if you have taken drugs you doubt are counterfeit.
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