Online prescription drug scams are cruel and dangerous

Online prescription drug scams are a prevalent form of elder abuse. Not to mention, they are dangerous.

Illicit drugs are most likely to target Americans age 50 or older, who are responsible for 71 percent of outpatient prescriptions. Crooks who once focused on drugs like Botox and Viagra have turned to lifesaving drugs, including medications for cancer, high cholesterol and mental health conditions.

According to the FDA, officials learned of people who ordered Ambien, Xanax, Lexapro or Ativan (all drugs that treat anxiety) over the internet and found that those consumers received products containing what was identified as foreign versions of Haldol, a powerful anti-psychotic drug. As a result, these customers needed emergency medical treatment for symptoms such as difficulty in breathing, muscle spasms, and muscle stiffness.

Other drugs prove to be medically worthless – placebos at best. But since 2010, nearly 1,400 adverse reactions related to counterfeit drugs have been reported. However, most people who use counterfeit or compromised medications never find out about it.

The FDA outlines signs of a safe and unsafe drug site.

Signs of a trustworthy website

  • It’s located in the United States.
  • It’s licensed by the state board of pharmacy where the website is operating. A list of these boards is available at the website of the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy.
  • It has a licensed pharmacist available to answer your questions.
  • It requires a prescription for prescription medicines from your doctor or another healthcare professional who is licensed to prescribe medicines.
  • It provides contact information and allows you to talk to a person if you have problems or questions.

Signs of an unsafe website

  • It sends you drugs with unknown quality or origin.
  • It gives you the wrong drug or another dangerous product for your illness.
  • It doesn’t provide a way to contact the website by phone.
  • It offers prices that are dramatically lower than the competition.
  • It may offer to sell prescription drugs without a prescription—this is against the law!
  • It may not protect your personal information.

You also can check a website to see if it has the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy’s (NABP) Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites™ Seal, also known as the VIPPS® Seal.

Our experienced and trusted estate planning attorneys have been serving Treasure Coast families for decades, and Michael Fowler is one of only nine attorneys in the state of Florida who is double board-certified in wills trusts and estates and in elder law.  Contact us for your initial consultation at one of our conveniently located offices in Fort Pierce, Stuart, Port St. Lucie, Vero Beach, and Okeechobee.

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