Medications are important products that help individuals fight disease, maintain good health, and maximize their quality of life. Unfortunately, their cost can often begin to add up—especially when multiple prescriptions are required. It should come as no surprise to most individuals, then, that the use of online pharmacies has increased drastically over the past few years. While these services offer name-brand medications, often at a fraction of the traditional price, they may not be of the same quality as “brick and mortar” pharmacy alternatives.
Dosage is often key when it comes to ensuring optimal results with prescription medications. Unfortunately, a large number of online pharmacies were recently shut down by the FDA for selling medications that were considered to be substandard, counterfeit, or which did not feature the appropriate standards of care. In addition to those organizations that were actually shut down by the FDA, a large number also received warnings and other serious citations. Altogether, 58 individuals were arrested during these raids, and $41 million of products were seized for further investigation.
While consumers can purchase a wide range of different types of medication on online pharmacies, there are a number of specific products that are especially popular. Among these include Viagra, Levitra, Celebrex and Avandaryl, all of which can be used recreationally and pose serious health risks when abused. Unfortunately, these medications were also most likely to feature dangerously low or high dosages, contain replacement “fillers,” or be substandard in some other nature altogether. As research into the field of online pharmacies and medication regulation continues, there may be a number of other prescriptions that are commonly linked to abuse by online vendors.
Frequency of Error
So how common is online pharmacy error? Is it really that big of a problem? Most experts agree that the basic answer to this question is a resounding yes—and with $41 million of products having been seized in the last few weeks, it can be hard to argue with this belief. In addition to this large recent bust, an evaluation completed by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy found that only about three percent of the medications sold at online pharmacies were actually true to form. Obviously, medication error can be extremely dangerous, especially for those living with either an acute or chronic health condition.
For men and women who use prescription medications on a regular basis, choosing substandard products is a major no-no. Fortunately, there are a number of ways in which concerned shoppers can make sure that they are getting exactly what they have been prescribed by their healthcare provider. For starters, customers should be sure to do some research on the online pharmacy from which they are considering purchasing prescription products. Working with friends, family members, and even neighbors who have obtained medications from online retailers in the past can also be beneficial when it comes to ensuring optimal results in the long run.