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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/585137

"Is It Safe To Order Drugs From Overseas Pharmacies?

A growing number of US consumers are engaging in the potentially risky practice of purchasing medications from unregulated Websites that ship drugs from foreign countries. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has cautioned consumers about this practice, especially about ordering prescription drugs without a valid prescription.[1] Many drugs that are available from overseas pharmacies should be monitored by a health professional for effectiveness and for potential adverse events, FDA officials have said.

There are several different types of Internet pharmacy portals, and some of them do follow safe medication practices. In the best-case scenario, a valid, legal prescription from a licensed prescriber is transmitted to the Internet pharmacy, which then fills the prescription and mails it to the patient. Pharmacies meeting quality standards of care are designated as Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites (VIPPS) by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy.[2]

In contrast, legitimate prescriptions may be transmitted to pharmacies outside the United States, and may be filled with counterfeit drugs, expired drugs, illegally diverted drugs, or adulterated drugs.[2] Even worse, consumers may order prescription medications online without first acquiring a legitimate prescription, giving them access to potentially toxic or addictive medications without seeing a healthcare provider.

Some online pharmacies routinely sell and ship medications such as zolpidem, methylphenidate, sildenafil, fluoxetine, oxycodone, and various opiates to US customers without prescriptions.[3,4] In fact, large quantities can be purchased with few or no screening questions asked about the patient's medical history. Even when screening questions are asked, these pharmacies are unable to verify the patient's responses. In countries that do require valid prescriptions, physicians may approve the orders without knowing anything about the patient. In this case, the patient does not know anything about the physician's qualifications, either.

On occasion, parcels are confiscated by US Customs and Border Protection if officials suspect they contain pharmaceuticals. While this may protect the consumer from harm, they probably will not recover their prepaid charges.

The dangers of bypassing a licensed US prescriber and obtaining medications overseas are myriad. Perhaps the most troubling is the lack of a valid prescription, because the consumer may be self-diagnosing and self-treating. Purchased medications may be addictive, be potentially toxic, or require special monitoring. There is often no assurance that the dosage is correct, nor is there screening for drug-drug or drug-disease interactions.

Some overseas Internet sites sell drugs that have not been approved by the FDA. One example is rimonabant, a drug used in other countries for weight loss. Rimonabant was denied FDA approval in 2007 amidst concerns regarding its neuropsychiatric side effect profile. Other concerns about drugs obtained overseas include inadequate or inaccurate labeling, inappropriate packaging, and questionable storage and handling.

Online pharmacies are subject only to the laws and regulations of the countries where they are based.[5] For example, in Canada and Australia, a valid prescription must be supplied before the medication is dispensed. However, in Mexico, many prescription drugs are sold over the counter and can be ordered over the Internet without a prescription.[5]

Pharmacists and other health professionals should discourage patients from buying medications from online overseas pharmacies. Likewise, patients should not order any medication that was not prescribed by a licensed US health professional. If patients are insistent about using Internet pharmacies, they should be counseled to use only pharmacies that have received the VIPPS designation and require a legal prescription before dispensing any medication. However, healthcare professionals should be aware that many consumers are using online pharmacies simply to bypass the prescription process, and not to save money"


"the U.S. Food & Drug Administration found that more than half of the medications that are confiscated on their way through U.S. customs are determined to be either unsafe for human consumption or ineffective. Eighty eight percent of the medications were found to be of illegal nature because they contained unapproved drugs."
 

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Seriously, there are bad sites to order from with bogus products. This is a fact.
The FDA also has it's own agenda that goes beyond the above info.
 

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http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/585137

"
Some online pharmacies routinely sell and ship medications such as zolpidem, methylphenidate, sildenafil, fluoxetine, oxycodone, and various opiates to US customers without prescriptions.[3,4] In fact, large quantities can be purchased with few or no screening questions asked about the patient's medical history. Even when screening questions are asked, these pharmacies are unable to verify the patient's responses. [/I]
I have been looking hard for an online pharmacy that sells zolpidem (AMBIEN), can anyone help me out, according to this article there are website that sell them, alldaychemist and medsmex dont
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I don't trust and stay clear of oral medications from online pharmacy, because you don't know the standard of manufacture in that country, it may be not be as stringent as to in your country say USA, Europe, Australia, Japan etc. Even now I have doubt for topical medications like Retin-A which caused so severe adverse reactions on me.
 

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Of course- this is meant to scare the reader- not to really inform- note the lack of details-- 'all meds' might not even include HQ- which is, after all, thought to be unsafe- although effective- and has been banned in many countries- I think people should know the risks and make informed choices- rather than being scared off, or seduced into thinking that any drug is really 'safe'
 

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All drugs engender some risks & dangers alongside their benefits. They are typically safe when used 'by most people' according tothe directions. Drug interactions, allergies un unforeseen adverse reactions kill thousands of people anually (just think of what happened recently with Vioxx & Heparin!). As consumers/patients, we have the responsibility for making informed choices. This task cannot be enirely delegated to out Dr's or pharmacists. Knowing your own body & what is typical in the way it appears, functions & feels is vital. DEspite effusive praises of any given medication, if you take it & you notice something...anything ...atypical for you & untoward, do not disregard it. You may be the one person in 500,000 to be experiencing a previously undocumented side-effect that was not apparent in the original in vivo research. Alerting your Dr & Pharmacist is the way to go & inform yourself as to how to appropriately discontinue use. Some medications shouldn't be abruptly discontinued. Others lurk in the body for prolongued period after discontinuing use so it is iportant to provide yr Dr & your Pharm info re any meds you used in the past but no longer do in order to avoid a potentially lethal interaction. The word 'natural' misleads many too & there are 'natural' supplements which can interact adversely with both prescription and otc meds. Caution is definitely necessary with all meds.

As for ordering online, I'd never do so with a drug to be taken internally. Even with their protocols & precautions, my local pharmacy has 2x sent me the wrong medications! Had I been an elderly or visually impaired consumer, the use of these meds I was sent would've proven life threating. It isn't worth taking such a risk to save a few $.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Of course- this is meant to scare the reader- not to really inform- note the lack of details-- 'all meds' might not even include HQ- which is, after all, thought to be unsafe- although effective- and has been banned in many countries- I think people should know the risks and make informed choices- rather than being scared off, or seduced into thinking that any drug is really 'safe'
but Mitch, its an article on medscape.com, based on research findings (seizures of overseas pharmacy shipments, by customs).
 
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