Phony Pharmacies: Are the meds you buy online safe? -


Phony Pharmacies: Are the meds you buy online safe?

An alarming new finding reveals a growing number of pharmaceuticals bought online are counterfeit and may not be safe for you.

"That product is most likely coming from some deplorable, unsanitary, horrible factory somewhere in the Asia-Pacific region, or perhaps someplace else in the world," said Matt Bassiur, vice president of global security for Pfizer.

Bassiur fights a different kind of war on drugs: counterfeit pharmaceuticals -- a multi-billion dollar industry.

"It's very difficult to tell when you're buying your pharmaceuticals online where the actual pharmaceutical is coming from," said Bassiur. "In fact, there are many people in the United States who feel that they are buying from a Canadian pharmacy."

We went online to see just how many sites offer well-known, frequently used drugs. The sources seem endless. There are savings, bargains and promises of a happier, healthier life and the chance to buy without a prescription.

The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy looked at 10,000 websites offering pharmaceuticals and found 97 percent do not meet the patient safety specifications required.

Not only do the counterfeit drugs often have no active pharmaceutical ingredients or no therapeutic value, but they can be filled with dangers.

"Like rat poison, wallboard material, road paint, some of the most horrible things, heavy metals, for example, coming into your body," said Bassiur.

"It's all about the money for the counterfeiter," said Bassiur. "They don't care about your health. They don't care about your safety. They don't care about your loved ones getting better. They care about the money."

The undercover world makes its way right to your medicine cabinet if you buy from a counterfeit online site. And it's difficult to detect the fakes from the legits.

"Sometimes they get the fonts wrong or the print size wrong or the color wrong, but they are becoming dangerously close to becoming identical in terms of looks," said Bassiur. "Obviously, not in terms of the therapeutic value."

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