The use of mail-order pharmacies has become increasingly popular in the last few years. Some health insurance companies even require their insured to order many medications online or over the phone to reduce costs. But as OakRidger.com reports, online pharmacies can present a serious danger.
Some companies that pose as legitimate pharmacies are not licensed in the U.S. Others are, simply put, not pharmacies.
This can bring into question the legitimacy and safety of the medications you receive from these companies. Taking a medication that does not meet safety standards or match what a doctor prescribed can have a wide variety of consequences, some of them fatal.
Illegitimate mail-order pharmacies may send faulty medications
The internet has revolutionized life as we know it. With a click of the mouse, you can bring up the local news of the day, listen to the latest music, read a new book, or do hundreds of other activities. Many also turn to the internet as a primary way to shop for everything from games to clothes to food and even to prescription medications.
Unfortunately, many companies that falsely advertise as legitimate pharmacies sell medications that are in some way wrong. You could receive contaminated medication, expired drugs, or medicine that is either too strong or not strong enough. These companies may store and ship medications under questionable conditions, which could compromise their effectiveness and put consumers at risk.
For a free legal consultation, call (813) 259-0022
Legitimate online pharmacies also have risks
Even legitimate online pharmacies make mistakes sometimes. When using a website and a mail-order system, you can still receive the wrong medicine from the pharmacy or get the wrong dosage instructions. Online pharmacies may mistakenly send the wrong person’s medication.
It can be harder to catch these mistakes, as patients do not have to speak with pharmacists to get their medications.
Protecting yourself when ordering prescriptions online
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) provides some guidelines for consumers regarding mail-order pharmacies. For example, when utilizing an online pharmacy that is not a part of a health insurance plan, make sure the company is licensed and in good standing. To further ensure the legitimacy of the pharmacy you want to order from, make sure to verify the following:
- The pharmacy is licensed to dispense medications in your state.
- A physical U.S. address and phone number are associated with the pharmacy.
- The pharmacy requires your doctor to submit a valid prescription.
- You can contact a licensed pharmacist from the company with any questions you have.
The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) has established accreditation processes for both pharmacies and veterinary pharmacies that operate online, known as VIPPS (Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites). Accredited pharmacies follow state and federal laws and regulations. They also fit all of the NABP criteria.
The approved pharmacies display the VIPPS seal on their websites.
If you order medications online and receive them through the mail, double-check that you have the correct medication before you begin taking it. It might be a good idea to have a clearly printed list from your doctor of all your medications to verify. Here are some other details you may also want to look over:
- Patient name on the medication
- Instructions for consumption (e.g., number of doses to take per day, whether the medication should be taken with food or water)
It also helps to be sure you know what the corresponding generic name is for the drug for comparison. Some pharmacies may provide you with the generic version of your medication when a particular brand is not available.
If any concerns arise while you are reviewing your order, do not hesitate to contact the company’s licensed pharmacist or your doctor. Addressing any questions you have before taking a mail-order prescription can protect you from injuries and other consequences.
Taking legal action against a mail-order pharmacy
If you or a loved one took medication from a mail-order pharmacy and it resulted in injuries, you may be able to file a medical malpractice case for damages. To do so, you will need to present evidence that proves the online pharmacy was illegitimate or made an error when issuing your medication.
Building a medical malpractice case can be difficult to do on your own, particularly if you are recovering from the resulting injuries or mourning the death of a loved one. Rather than allowing your chance at financial recovery to slip by, allow Distasio Law Firm to take over your case.
Our personal injury services extend into medical malpractice, and we would be honored to help you with your case against a negligent mail order pharmacy. Call today to receive a complimentary case assessment from our team at (813) 259-0022.