Drugstore.com has launched a public awareness campaign, "Safe Shopper," alerting consumers about the dangers of buying medications from illegal Internet sites that specialize in selling painkillers and other dangerous substances. The Bellevue (Wash)?based company also will work with the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy 'to close the door on illegal online pharmacies."
"The Internet is a great tool to help consumers manage their health,? said Peter Neupert, chairman of Drugstore. com. ?Unfortunately, there are a growing number of unscrupulous businesses using the Internet to deceive the public?many times without a doctor?s prescription."
The campaign comes as legitimate online pharmacies are working to distinguish themselves from the increasing number of domestic and offshore Web sites that inundate people with e-mails and advertisements for controlled substances. In fact, many of the offshore sites sell dangerous drugs without prescriptions. Other illegal pharmacies work with intermediaries who link customers with physicians who authorize prescriptions after only brief telephone consultations. In an effort to educate the public, Drugstore.com has issued guidelines on how to differentiate lawful and unlawful online pharmacies:
Avoid online pharmacies that do not list their addresses, do not require consumers to visit their local physician?s office to get a prescription, or do not carry a full line of prescriptions
Do not buy medications from unlicensed Web sites that bombard consumers with unsolicited e-mail advertisements
Look for the pharmacy association?s seal of certification