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Warnings about buying from foreign online pharmacies

Updated: Saturday, August 3 2013, 01:51 PM CDT
Buying prescription drugs online might be cheaper and more convenient, but as Channel Three's Kavontae Smalls found out in this consumer alert, it also involves serious risks.

It may be easier than getting in your car and driving to the pharmacy.  In fact, with just a few clicks your medication can arrive right at your front door, but there's plenty of risk involved when buying prescription drugs online.

Nina, sister of victim
"My sister was a police officer, and she had a very stressful job, and she was taking prescription drugs."

Nina found her sister was taking large amounts of drugs the bought online, and on the phone.
Her sister took her own life, and Nina was determined to find out why.

Nina, sister of victim
"In the weeks after she died, I got 100-thousand doses of these drugs.  There is no reason for anyone to have that many doses of any drugs"
"I had her cell phone and she would get 33 calls a day.  The vendors would call and say, 'I just sent your prescriptions, I just sent your drugs to you  Can I send you more?'"

Nina discovered her sister was buying drugs from other countries.

Nina, sister of victim
"When you aren't buying it from a reputable source, I wondered, was there something else in the drugs, was it really was it supposed to be, were there impurities, did it cause her to commit suicide?"

Chris Cummings, Pharmacy Manager at Baptist Healthcare, says often times people buying their medications online are simply trying to save money.

Chris Cummings, Pharmacist
"Drugs in the United States are not necessarily the same drugs as overseas even though they may have the same name so it's just something to be concerned about."

Telemarketers lure customers with cheaper prices and convenience.
The elderly, poor or those with an addiction are often easy prey.
Some advice,  know what you're buying.

Quiana Valentine, US Postal Inspector
"Do not trust your health to these overseas vendors, we don't know the exactly what is in the pills, the potency, how they will interact with other drugs you're currently taking."

Postal inspectors and agents from the US Drug Enforcement Agency, are working together to trace the origin of these packages Nina's sister received.

Nina, sister of victim
"What I want is for no other family and friend to have to go through what I went through with my sister."

To avoid putting your health and life at risk, only buy prescription drugs from sources you know you can trust, where if you have a question about the drugs, you can pick up the phone and call the pharmacy directly.
Kavontae Smalls, Channel 3 News.

There are some red flags to look out for when buying drugs online.

Make sure your pharmacists talk about your other medications and its possible side effects.
Look for phone numbers on the website so you can call and speak with someone to ask a question about the drugs.
Also check for the FDA or the NABP, National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, seals on the website.
Warnings about buying from foreign online pharmacies


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