LITTLE ROCK (KTHV) - The FDA just rolled out a campaign called BeSafeRX. It is warning consumers about the dangers of bogus online pharmacies and the drugs they sell.
Here in Arkansas, state pharmacy leaders are aware of this problem. But they say the Natural State has some safeguards in place to ensure that you aren't dealt a bad dose of medicine.
Donna Frank talks with her pharmacist at her Little Rock drug store. She's getting information from a source she feels is better than buying online.
"Just the ingredients in the medications, there is no guarantee what it says on that bottle," Frank said.
It's a concern shared at the national level with the FDA now pushing awareness of unlicensed, overseas Internet pharmacies. State leaders are worried too.
"They are drugs that could not the intended positive effect, they could also do harm or kill you," Scott Pace said.
Scott Pace is the Associate Executive Vice President of the Arkansas Pharmacists Association. He says Arkansas is working to fight this danger, first by requiring online pharmacies to have a staff member licensed here.
"That individual could be called before the State Board of Pharmacy in Little Rock for a disciplinary action if something bad happened to an Arkansas resident," Pace said.
He also says that state law changed in 2009 to require a prior patient-pharmacist relationship when buying online meds.
"You can't just get a prescription because you filled out an online questionnaire or spoke to a physician over the phone," Pace said.
It's a more direct tie that still hasn't convinced Frank to buy her meds from the Web.
"When you walk into a pharmacy, you can talk to a pharmacist, they can educate you," Frank said.
She's preffering to connect face-to-face instead of online.
If you do buy online, Pace says there's one other way to help you out. It's a national accreditation program called"VIPPS." It lists the most current approved, online pharmacies. And while it's voluntary, Pace says the list represents a large number of the good providers out there.
The FDA also conducted a study with almost 7,000 adults who shop online. They found that almost one in four of those people had bought prescription drugs on the internet.
Our corporate partner at USA Today recently delved into the FDA campaign. Click here to read more about it.