The Partnership for Safe Medicines on Wednesday warned consumers who purchase medication from online sources to always check that providers are accredited by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP).
While the NABP reports that approximately 97 percent of websites are operating within the legal limits, the organization said there are still many sites that sell substandard or counterfeit medications.
To safeguard against these potentially dangerous drugs, the NABP encourages consumers to only purchase from sources that participate in its Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites (VIPPS) or Veterinary-Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites (Vet-VIPPS) programs.
In addition to knowing their medications are safe, the VIPPS and Vet-VIPPS programs allow consumers to compare prices from different pharmacies -- both online and in traditional brick-and-mortar locations -- to ensure they're getting the best deal.
In addition to using the VIPPS or Vet-VIPPS programs, the Partnership for Safe Medicines said consumers also can look for pharmaceutical sites that use the top-level .pharmacy domain. Sites using this domain have been reviewed and approved by the NABP.