Consumers have lots of choices in buying prescription drugs these days. But as you search for the best price or most convenience, be careful about the source of your medications.
Counterfeit drugs are on the rise, so you need to be vigilant about the quality and integrity of the drugs you buy. You might throw your money away on ineffective drugs, or even worse, you could be harmed by taking drugs that aren’t what they pretend to be. Learn more to protect yourself and your loved ones from the dangers of counterfeit drugs.
Know your medications. If you know the size, shape, color, taste, and side effects of the prescriptions you take, you will more easily identify possible counterfeits. Contact your pharmacist or doctor if you notice anything different about a medication.
Pay attention to packaging. Check for altered or unsealed containers, or changes in the packaging or label. Contact your pharmacist or doctor if you notice any changes.
Only buy prescription medications from a safe, reputable source. If the seller is unfamiliar check with your state board of pharmacy or the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy at https://nabp.pharmacy or call (847) 391-4406. These sources can tell you if the pharmacy is licensed.
When you buy medications online, make sure the seller is properly licensed. Check with your state board of pharmacy or the National Association of Boards Pharmacy at https://nabp.pharmacy or call (847) 391-4406. These sources can tell you if the online seller is licensed. You should check the state board of pharmacy where the online seller is located, and your own state board of pharmacy. NABP’s .Pharmacy Verified Websites Program verifies that online pharmacies and medication-related websites are properly licensed and follow applicable laws and business best practices. Unlike seals of approval posted on websites, the .pharmacy domain is part of a website’s address and cannot be faked. See the .Pharmacy Verified Websites List.
- If you believe you have bought a counterfeit drug, report it. Contact the pharmacist who sold you the medication. Your pharmacist will know if there has been a legitimate change in the color, shape, taste or packaging of the medication. You can also report your suspicions to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). If you bought the drug by mail, by telephone, or in person, contact the FDA’s Medwatch program at 1-800-332-1088 or at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch. To report a counterfeit drug that you bought on the Internet, use this online form or call the Medwatch number. In addition, ask your doctor for medical advice if you have taken drugs you suspect are counterfeit.