Buying Prescription Drugs Online - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

06/18/04

Buying Prescription Drugs Online

If you're taking prescriptions regularly, you know how expensive they can be and you're probably trying to save wherever you can. Now, with the Internet promising the same prescriptions from other countries for much less money, many seniors are tempted to buy online. Right now, purchasing medications from overseas is illegal; however, the Better Business Bureau says there is another reason why you may want to be careful where you buy your medication.

"There is always the possibility of getting counterfeit drugs," explained Ross Howard, president of the Southeast Better Business Bureau. "They may be sugar pills, liver pills. That's one concern. The second is, the drugs may not be FDA approved. They may not be effective. They may not be the right strength."

Howard said even websites that appear to be for American companies aren't always what they seem. "You run the same risk in Canada and the U.S. with con artists," he added.

Still, the market has been ripe for Internet prescription drug sales. The American Association for Retired People says prescription drug prices have skyrocketed more than 25-percent over the last four years alone.

Seniors like, Lynn Stepney, who pays more than a 140 dollars a month for her medications, are feeling the pain. "A lot of time, I don't have the money to get all, so I get half," she said. "A lot of the time they charge you more to get half, but if I don't have the money to get the whole thing, half is better than nothing."

Although buying her medication online could cost her less, Stepney is not willing to chance it. "If you don't know what you're getting," she said, "how are you saving money?"

The AARP is endorsing a bi-partisan Senate bill today that would make it legal to buy prescription drugs from Canada; however, in the meantime, the Better Business Bureau recommends you to talk with your doctor first before buying your medication online.

Reported by Liz Flynn, lflynn@wtoc.com

 

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