Would you be Surprised to know 97 percent of online pharmacies are illegitimate?
The North Carolina Council of Churches has joined with Secretary of State Elaine Marshall and the Secretary of State’s Advisory Council to Combat Counterfeit Medication to launch an important new consumer safety campaign, Verify Before You Buy. The campaign works to protect North Carolinians from a growing and potentially fatal, health and safety threat – fake online pharmacies.
More consumers than ever are going online to buy goods and services, even fresh groceries. Combined with the soaring cost of many prescription drugs, it’s no surprise that 56 percent plan to buy their medications online at some point. What may come as a surprise is that 97 percent of online pharmacies are selling fake or sub-standard medications, according to the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy. These websites are most often hosted by criminals posing as a Canadian or American website offering up to 40 percent discounts on medication.
Global law enforcement continues to work on putting an end to this growing threat, however, sophisticated criminal networks continue to find ways around the law and are reaching consumers. Some rogue online pharmacies are reported to be making up to $1 million per day, selling drugs whose contents range from expired medications to cement and rat poison. The sites have also been known to steal consumer financial data.
NC is leading the US in fighting rogue internet pharmacies with the VerifyBeforeYouBuy.org, a website dedicated to helping physicians and patients alike test their pharmacy to make sure it is a certified and safe place to buy medication. The key feature of the site is a search engine where consumers can copy and paste the internet address of an online pharmacy site and find out if it is real.
Since its launch, more than 35,000 families across the state have started using the site to verify the safety of their online pharmacy orders.
The fake sites are sophisticated, offer significant discounts and have all the bells and whistles we have come to expect with online shopping, but the majority are dangerous to health and safety. It simply isn’t worth the risk – Verify Before You Buy!