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Online pharmacies may be selling fake meds, says experts

KDBC
Tuesday, July 2, 2013 - 8:50pm

Prescription medication can cost a pretty penny so when there's a deal online for meds, the cheaper prices can be tempting to the consumer.

But, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently shut down 1,677 online pharmacies for selling counterfeit or "substandard" drugs, that imitate real pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens.

Local4News spoke with a local pharmacist about purchasing prescription medication online.

JR Rivas is a pharmacist and the co-owner of Advant-Edge Pharmacy in East El Paso. He says there's nothing wrong with buying meds online but warns it could be risky.

"We're a community pharmacist. We always think it's important to know your pharmacy, your pharmacist, and to have that relationship, know what you're getting, and to verify that. As long as you're getting an actual, speaking with an actual pharmacist, and have access to a pharmacist regarding your medication therapy, then it can work," said Rivas.

Rivas, like the FDA, says you should only buy from licensed pharmacies. The website selling you the meds should also have a pharmacist available for you to contact and ask questions.

And perhaps most importantly, the site should require you to give them a prescription first before they sell any type medication to you.

"Just like your licensed, local pharmacies require a prescription to fill a prescription medication, so do online pharmacies -- that doesn't let them off the hook for requiring a prescription. Some of the medications are by prescription only for a reason because they can be dangerous if they're misused. So, if they're just giving these things out and letting people self-prescribe, you know that can't be legitimate," said Rivas.

For more information on purchasing prescription medication, visit the FDA's website http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/BuyingUsingMedicineSafely/BuyingMedicinesOvertheInternet/default.htm

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