New FDA campaign for safe online pharmacies misleads consumersposted Tue, 2 Oct 2012
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has launched a new educational campaign aimed at directing consumers towards safe online pharmacies called BeSafeRx. While we fully support the theory behind the effort, we find ourselves frustrated with the FDA once again for refusing to acknowledge that legitimate international online pharmacies exist.
The campaign’s “Know the Signs” webpage tells consumers to “beware” of pharmacies that “Are located outside the United States.” Never mind the fact that Americans have been successfully and safely importing their prescriptions from legitimate Canadian and other international pharmacies for more than a decade.
With this campaign, the FDA will do more harm than good. As we reported last week, a recent Consumer Reports survey indicated that nearly half of those under age 65 without prescription drug coverage neglected to fill a prescription due to cost in 2012. As Americans struggling to survive in this economy seek ways to save money, scare tactics are not what they need.
This alarming trend of medication non-adherence could easily get worse, which is why we have always advocated for the government to be straight with consumers about online pharmacies.
Yes, there are rogue online entities out there selling diluted or counterfeit medicines. Without a doubt, they must be stopped. But there are also licensed, legitimate international online pharmacies out there that require a doctor’s prescription and sell brand name medications at a fraction of the U.S. prices. And more than a million Americans each year depend on these pharmacies to access medicine they can afford.
The FDA is tasked with protecting public health, but by lumping rogues together with legitimate pharmacies, they are scaring consumers away from a valid alternative.
We think the American public, if given accurate and truthful information, can be trusted to make their own choices about where to order their prescription drugs. What do you think?