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Online Pharmacies: Red Flags To Watch For


According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, following are red flags that may indicate that a pharmacy site is not legitimate:

  • Does not require a bona-fide prescription issued by your personal physician.
  • Does not ask the name, address or phone number of your current physician.
  • Advises you about the law and why it is permissible to obtain controlled substances from foreign countries via the internet.
  • Doesn't take insurance and requires all payments to be made with a credit card, often only certain credit cards.
  • Only has a limited number of drugs for sale.
  • Advises you to have the drugs sent to a post office box or other location to avoid detection.
  • Does not allow a customer to continue unless the "right" information is entered into a questionnaire, such as a height and weight associated with need for a weight-loss drug.

It is also advisable to avoid pharmacies and internet sites that do not identify themselves or do not provide a U.S. contact phone number and address in the event of a problem. You can learn the identity of the owners of a site at offsite link.

For an FDA guide to state-licensed online pharmacies, go to offsite link.  Click on Know Your Online Pharmacy.

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