July 31, 2014
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Medications and your Health

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Buying drugs online - buyer beware...a case study

There are thousands of internet websites out there selling prescription medications, experimental medications, and all kinds of "miracle cures." You can be risking your health and even your life by buying medications over the internet. While some sites might be legitimate and licensed, many more have been created to look like legitimate Canadian pharmacies but are neither. If you order from these sites, you might get counterfeit medications with no active ingredients, medications with substandard or dangerous ingredients, or medications past their expiry date. You might receive an incorrect dose or no product at all. Or you might have your personal and credit card information stolen by organized crime.

Even if these medications do not harm you directly or immediately, your condition may get worse without effective treatment. If you order medications that were not prescribed by a health professional, you can be putting yourself at risk for drug interactions or harmful side effects.

Here's a brief case study of an actual online site selling medications that masquerades as both legitimate and Canadian.

  1. This site is apparently one of many operated by a man with numerous aliases who is described as the world's largest spammer. As well as pharmaceuticals, his other sites sell fake Rolexes and mortgage refinancing.
  2. This site pretends to be an online vendor of drug products - no prescriptions are required. However, its real purpose is believed to be credit card and identity theft.
  3. The site states: "The quality of all our medications is guaranteed by Canadian Board of Pharmacy." No such organization exists.
  4. The names of the "professionals" and owners vary from site to site but with the same pictures. One of these is called Dr. E. Armington on the English site and Dr. C. Smith on the French site. This "individual" is falsely identified as a founder of the Canadian Pharmacists Association (which in fact was started in 1907), and a former professor at 2 Canadian universities.
  5. Although the site states the online ordering system uses the latest in Secure Encryption Technology, when users go to checkout, they are sent to a non-secure http page hosted by feeblemindedkow.com. (Yes, really.)
  6. This site, in common with the operator's other fake pharmacy operations, has no legitimate licenses, approval, quality guarantees, security, or site awards. The company is not licensed under Minnesota law, as indicated.
  7. The "Canadian" headquarters given is not a valid address.
  8. The domain name on the operator's sites, and the images loaded onto web pages, come from what is known as a "hijacked host."

Some advice….

Buying medications online is no substitute for care provided by your physician and pharmacist.

 
Provided by the Canadian Pharmacists Association, 
in association with the MediResource Clinical Team 

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