Tips for Purchasing Prescription Drugs Online

Buy all your prescription drugs on the-internet and save big money - there are 1000s of prescription drugs and generic prescription drugs available online...

- With the increasing price of prescription drugs, many consumers are finding it more difficult to afford the price of drugstore prescriptions. Due to this, a large number of such consumers are looking for alternate ways to find affordable medications. One of theses avenues is purchasing their drugstore prescription medicines via the-internet. While there is no doubt it is possible to save money by purchasing prescription medicines online, consumers should be aware of all the facts; including risks, before proceeding.

Among the number one risks related to purchasing prescription drugs online is the possibility that the medication is not good quality. Even worse, the prescription drug medication you receive could possibly be contaminated. In other cases, products that have been marketed on the internet have been eventually discovered to either contain no prescription medicine at all or either a different prescription medicine than the name under which it was marketed. In other cases, medication was sold stating that it contained a dosage that it did not. For example, it might have been marketed as a 500 mg dose when it contained only 100 mg. All of these possibilities pose a real danger to your health if you are dependent on prescription drugs.

Another danger related to purchasing prescription drugs online involves the possibility of obtaining a medication without a prescription. Many medications are regulated by prescription for a number of very good reasons. First, most medications have properties which may interact adversely with other medicines. If you obtain medication online without a valid prescription and are unaware of the interactions it may have with other medications you are taking or conditions you may have; this can create a serious and life-threatening situation.

Some websites offer to sell medications that have not yet been approved by the FDA. While it can be a lengthy and time consuming process to wait for the FDA to approve a drug, the process is in place with good reason. Taking medications that have not yet been approved by the FDA can expose you to all sorts of health risks.

In some cases you have no way of knowing if the prescription drugs you are buying online are actually coming from foreign countries. It is actually illegal to import medications into the US from foreign countries. One of the reasons this is illegal is because medications that have been produced outside the United States have been manufactured without quality assurance guidelines. This means they may be unsafe and dangerous. By purchasing prescription drugs online from a foreign country you may be putting yourself at risk for health issues.

These warnings are not to say you should never purchase Prescription Drugs online. There are some companies which are perfectly legitimate and provide safe products at a reasonable price. In order to make sure you are dealing with a legitimate company and not a drug company that is merely trying to run a scam by offering unsafe products, there are a few things you can do.

First, make sure the company you are dealing with online is a licensed pharmacy. Don’t just take their word for it. Check with the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy at their web site to find out if the company you are interested in is a member. Avoid dealing with drug companies that do not appear to be based in the US, offer to sell you medications without a prescription or to write you a ‘prescription.’ This is a recipe for disaster.

The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to medically diagnose, treat or cure any disease. Consult a health care practitioner before beginning any health care program.

reprint permission & Emily Clark

ATM-Style Drug Kiosks Spark Debate

KERI BRENNER / Marin Independent Journal 2005

Welcome to the home of Drug Store Prescriptions. Your pharmacy drug vending machine technology information source.

A Marin California pharmacists group is challenging a push by two major drug and supermarket chains to add ATM-like drug-refill dispensers in their stores.

ATM style drug machines spark debate by Kerri Jenner, Marin Independent Journal news 2005
What in the World will they think of Next? How about finding a place right next to the junk food and soda machine in school! There is no telling what good these drug pill machines could do.

However, consumer response so far to one test model in Southern California has been "overwhelming," according to Linda Tinney, founder of Del Mar-based Asteres Inc., which makes the device.

"We had more than 500 people sign up for the service in one month," Tinney said, adding that most customers want to pick up "lifestyle drugs" they take every month, such as Viagra, thyroid pills, allergy medications or hormones. "They don't want to stand in line to get their birth control."

Fred Mayer of San Rafael, president of the nonprofit Pharmacy Defense Fund of San Rafael, said the prescription drug kiosks being tested by Walnut Creek-based Longs Drug Stores could be a problem if people use them after the pharmacy closes.

"It's a safety hazard," said Mayer, a past president of the Marin County Pharmacists Association, explaining that no one would be available to check for potential labeling errors, symptoms, side effects, drug interactions or other problems. "Pharmacists shouldn't be trained for eight years to stick something in a kiosk."

Both Longs and Pleasanton-based Safeway Inc. have waivers from the California State Board of Pharmacy to test and install the devices at their drug and grocery stores, said Patricia Harris, the state board's executive officer.

The machines, made by Del Mar-based Asteres, Inc., would work by holding prescriptions that already have been filled by store pharmacists until a customer is ready to pick them up. The customer would need a personal identification number (PIN) or card to access the machine, which could be available around the clock for stores that are open 24 hours.

"We see it as an added convenience for our customers, who will be able to pick up a prescription when the pharmacy is closed," Safeway spokeswoman Jennifer Webber said. "It's not a dispenser, it's a delivery machine - it delivers prescriptions that have been filled by our pharmacists."

Longs officials say the kiosk is one of many improvements the company is looking at to allow pharmacists more time with customers, not less. By automating the most routine functions, pharmacists would be better able to spend time with customers who have questions, Longs spokeswoman Phyllis Proffer said.

"Obviously, the heart of our business is our pharmacy," she said. "We would consider the pharmacists to have a major role in drug therapy, and we would do everything we can to promote interaction between the pharmacist and the customer/patient."

Proffer said she did not know if the devices would be installed at stores other than the one in Southern California. Harris said the one Longs test site is at a store in Del Mar; Safeway has not yet set up any test stores, she said.

The Pharmacy Defense Fund, a group Mayer formed to fight legal issues of concern to pharmacists, last week sent a letter to Harris criticizing the waivers' alleged lack of specific details on issues such as security of the machines, proximity to pharmacists, notification to customers about counseling and the potential for consumers to violate the refills-only policy.

Jeff Moss of San Rafael, attorney for the Pharmacy Defense Fund, contends in his letter to the state board that the Longs waiver, issued Dec. 6, is "hardly a pilot program" and "appears to be a blanket waiver to allow Longs to install devices in all of its California stores."

Longs has 472 stores, 393 of which are in California, according to Proffer. Safeway has 1,815 stores in the United States and Canada.

But Tinney said the machine's design and operation addresses all of Moss's concerns - even if the language in the state board waiver might not spell it out.

"It's clear that they haven't talked to our vice president of pharmacy," Tinney said. "All their requirements are addressed in the technology."

Harris said she will forward Moss' letter to the pharmacy board when it meets in April. The board is considering approval of a new regulation to allow the devices without a waiver, she said.

"These are for refill prescriptions only," Harris said. "I'm sure if there are any problems, we'll hear from consumers - so far we haven't heard of any."

She said she "doesn't know who said it's a pilot program," because the Longs and Safeway waivers allow for installing the dispensers at any or all of the companies' stores. However, Harris added, the state board can rescind the waivers at any time.

"This is just an option consumers can use," she said.

Retired Kaiser Permanente pharmacist Phil Grauss of Novato said the waiver was "very ambiguous" because it doesn't have enough safeguards to guarantee that the right person is getting the right prescription.

Grauss, president of the Marin County Pharmacists Association, said during his 33-year career with Kaiser Permanente, clerks were required (at a minimum) to check the labels and identifications for even routine drug refills before handing the bag of drugs to the patient.

"What if there's a problem, what if there's an error - someone's getting dizzy and has some questions?" Grauss said. "The one-on-one, face-to-face with a pharmacist isn't going to happen."

Grauss added that he saw the issue as a financial one rather than something that improves customer service. If a machine can deliver the prescriptions, he said, there is less need for clerks or pharmacists to staff the operation.

"Ultimately, it's about money," he said. "It's always got an economic attachment or they wouldn't bother doing it."

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