The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns consumers that some Web sites sell prescription and over-the-counter drugs that may not be safe to use!

The FDA says that consumers should know how to recognize a legal Internet pharmacy and how to buy medicines online safely.

Buying prescription and over-the-counter drugs on the Internet from a company you don’t know means you may not know exactly what you are getting.

Although there are many Web sites that operate legally, there are also many “rogue Web sites” that offer to sell potentially dangerous drugs that have not been checked for safety or effectiveness.

These sites often sell unapproved drugs, drugs that contain the wrong ingredient, too much or too little of the active ingredient, or that contain dangerous ingredients.

Some Web sites sell “look alikes” that are counterfeit drugs and not FDA approved medicines and their quality and safety unknown.

Signs of a trustworthy Web site:

  • It is located in the United States.
  • It is licensed by the state board of pharmacy where the Web site is operating.
  • It has a licensed pharmacist available to answer questions.
  • It requires a prescription for prescription medications from your Doctor.
  • It provides contact information and allows you to talk to a person if you have problems or questions.

A way to check on a Web site is to look for the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy’s (NABP) Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites Seal (VIPPS Seal) or visit for a list of state boards of pharmacy to see if the Web site is licensed.

Using an unsafe Web site could result in:

  • Receiving drugs with unknown quality or origin.
  • Receiving the wrong drug or another dangerous product for your illness.
  • Not providing any way for you to contact the Web site by phone.
  • “To good to be true” dramatically lower prices than the competition for inferior quality medicines.
  • Breaking the law by selling prescription drugs without a prescription!
  • Your personal information being unprotected!

Be aware that some drugs sold online:

  • Are too old, too strong, or too weak.
  • Are not FDA approved.
  • Are not made using safe standards.
  • Are not safe to use with other medicines or products.
  • Are not labeled, stored, or shipped correctly.
  • May be counterfeit, fake, or copycat products!

Always be extremely cautious when looking for and purchasing prescription and over-the-counter medications online to protect yourself and your personal information.

Please report unsafe or suspicious sites to the FDA by going to http//