Are you continually receiving email advertisements from companies offering to deliver prescription drugs and medicines to your home overnight without needing a prescription from your physician?
While the development of online pharmacies and telemedicine has made it convenient to seek treatment without leaving the comfort of your home, it is crucial to make sure you are dealing with companies that provide safe and legal treatment. Here, mass communications professional Julian Narchet discusses some of the social and legal implications of dealing with online pharmacies and telemedicine.
Risks of Online Pharmacies
While it can seem easy to order the medication that you think you need or a prescription you have used in the past from your physician, there are many risks associated with purchasing drugs from an online pharmacy that isn’t licensed. If a pharmacy isn’t licensed, how do you know if the medications you are receiving are the real thing or not?
The medicine you receive from an online pharmacy has the potential to be fake, contaminated, expired, or laced with something unsafe. Taking those medicines could make you sicker than you already are or even lead to death or other illness. You may have very little legal protection in the event you become ill, as there is almost no way to track the origin of the medication.
Drugs produced or used in other countries may vary slightly from prescriptions in the U.S. that have been approved by the FDA. Even a slight difference in ingredients can cause drug reactions to other medication, increase illness, develop new side effects, or create a resistance to the medication.
Some of the sites associated with online pharmacies also lack the safety measures to protect your personal and financial information provided adequately. As many of the sites are fake, they may use your data against your will and sell it to scammers or transmit viruses to your electronics. Other risks of providing personal information to fake online pharmacies include being charged falsely for products that were never ordered or sent or harassed via email or phone calls.
Check the Validity of a Pharmacy First
The FDA suggests confirming a pharmacy is licensed in your home state before doing any business with them. They also then recommend verifying that the company requires a valid prescription from your doctor, lists a valid U.S. address and phone number, and offers a licensed pharmacist to answer questions as needed.
Telemedicine has been a growing trend in the health industry over the last several years, as patients can seek treatment for certain illnesses from the comfort of their homes. However, it is crucial to understand that telemedicine has its limits on what it can and cannot support. Simple illnesses such as colds or sinus infections can be readily treated via telehealth, but some diseases can be misdiagnosed if they’re not examined in person. For example, an image of a rash can be distorted through the camera and treated incorrectly. Health care professionals must be able to identify what symptoms require further examination versus what can be conducted over video, phone, and prescribed medication accordingly.
About Julian Narchet
Julian Narchet is a marketing and mass communications professional, and a Communications Specialist at the University of Miami. He holds a B.S.B.A. in Marketing and an M.A. in Mass Communication with a focus on Corporate Communication from the University of Central Florida.
This article cannot be re-published without permission.