A Canadian women died in March due to toxic counterfeit drugs she purchased over the Internet. This was the first confirmed Canadian death due to Internet drugs. The women bought the bogus medication from a fake online pharmacy. The drugs she purchased were found to contain high levels of metal.
The Executive Director of the Canadian Pharmacists Association (CPhA), Dr. Jeff Poston, is advising that consumers purchase all their medications from a local pharmacy. These pharmacies are regulated and are required to make patient safety their first priority. Many Internet sites pose as pharmacies, but there is no guarantee that they are legitimate and that their products are effective and safe.
Counterfeit drugs sold on the Internet has became a world wide problem in recent years. The World Health Organization estimated that over 50% of Internet drug companies that do not give an actual company address are counterfeit.
The FDA has recently put out a warning advising consumers against purchasing prescriptions online. And according to Dr. Poston, buying drugs online can put consumers at risk. The drugs received may not have active ingredients, may be past the expiration date, or they may contain toxic components. Also, purchasing online requires credit card information that could be stolen and used for fraudulent purposes.
For more information on this subject, please refer to our section on Drugs, Medical Devices, and Implants.