Prescriptions Online: Buyer Beware


ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — One in three Americans say they don’t take their medications as prescribed because they can’t afford to. Rising costs, coupled with high health insurance deductibles have some Americans turning to the internet, but buyers need to beware … the search for life-saving drugs can have life-threatening consequences with online prescriptions.

For the 37 million Americans with diabetes, insulin is a critical part of managing high blood sugar.

But prices of some diabetes drugs are sky high. In fact, the listed price of one has jumped 12-hundred percent since it launched. Another is up 715 percent.

The cost for a popular drug for rheumatoid arthritis, up by 486 percent. And one nerve pain medication is up 420 percent.

More and more Americans are searching for better prices on the internet. But health experts say, buyer beware!

Elizabeth Gardner, PhD Forensic Scientist, UAB says, “One of the things we have is a project where we order prescription drugs from online pharmacies, analyze them, and see what you’re actually getting.”

Researchers found some online pharmacies were fake storefronts running scams with expired or unidentified, potentially dangerous chemicals. Some of the tested drugs were inconsistent.

Gardner explains, “It did contain the active ingredient, but when we quantified it, we were supposed to be receiving pills that contained 20 milligrams. And they contained anywhere from 18 to 41 milligrams.”

That means consumers were either getting less than they needed or a higher dose than recommended.

The safest bets? The FDA recommends consumers buy from verified online sources related to their individual health plans, or their “brick and mortar” pharmacy.

Keeping your medications, and your health in check.

While most consumers assume that online pharmacies are safe, the FDA estimates that only three percent of online pharmacies reviewed by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy are in compliance with US pharmacy laws and standards. Money magazine recommends five online pharmacies: Costco, Pill Pack, RX outreach,, and Bioplus Specialty Pharmacy.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Producer; Bob Walko.



REPORT #2984

BACKGROUND: 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. Only 4% of Americans have ever purchased prescription drugs on the internet. Buying prescription medicine from fraudulent online pharmacies can be dangerous, or even deadly. At best, counterfeit medicines are fakes of approved drugs and should be considered unsafe and ineffective. These medicines may be less effective or have unexpected side effects. In addition to health risks, most fraudulent online pharmacies may put your personal and financial information at risk. Some intentionally misuse the information you provide. These sites may infect your computer with viruses, and they may sell your information to other illegal websites and Internet scams.


DIAGNOSIS: The Internet provides consumers with instant access to information and services, including online pharmacies for prescription medicines. Health insurance plans are encouraging home delivery of maintenance medications and use of pharmacy services online. As the cost of prescription medicine continues to increase, consumers may look for cost savings from online pharmacies to afford their medicines. In addition, many consumers value the convenience and privacy of purchasing their medicines online. For those consumers who may be considering purchasing from online sources that are not associated with health insurance plans or a local pharmacy, these consumers need to know the risks of buying from fraudulent online pharmacies.


NEW REGULATIONS: A new law in Florida allows healthcare providers to prescribe many controlled substances via telemedicine, pushing the Sunshine State to the head of the pack in a heavily debated virtual care service. SB 312, signed by Governor Ron DeSantis, enables providers to use telemedicine to prescribe all but Schedule II drugs, while those prescriptions will be allowed via telemedicine if they meet one of four exceptions. Florida law had previously prohibited the prescribing of controlled substances via telemedicine except for a few situations. The new law amends Florida’s state statutes to allow providers to prescribe a controlled substance. That allowance is limited for Schedule II drugs to the treatment of a psychiatric disorder, inpatient treatment at a licensed hospital, hospice services, and treatment for residents in a nursing home. It puts Florida ahead of many states whose legislatures are still grappling with the idea of allowing doctors to remotely prescribe controlled medications. Opponents say the service offers too many opportunities for abuse, while supporters say it’s a key component to improving clinical outcomes for underserved populations and others who can’t or won’t visit their doctor on a regular basis.


* For More Information, Contact:                       

Yvonne Taunton, PR Specialist UAB

(205) 934-8931

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