Advertisements for online medications may seem appealing and hassle free, but Better Business Bureau says think twice before buying medication over the Internet.
A company based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada called BetterThanMedicare.com, also known as BTM, is on BBB's radar. Advertisements touting "no deductibles," "no co-pays," and "save up to 85% on your prescriptions" have surfaced across the Washington area. In BTM's recent advertisement, the company is falsely claiming BBB Accreditation by displaying an unauthorized BBB logo; this company is not accredited with BBB and is not authorized to use BBB's name or logo.
According to the Manitoba Pharmaceutical Association, this company has failed to obtain proper competency licensing.
BetterThanMedicare.com holds BBB's lowest rating, an "F."
BBB serving Alaska, Oregon, and Western Washington advises consumers to be extremely cautious when shopping for prescription medications at online pharmacies.
- First visit with a trusted doctor and obtain a written prescription. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, it is illegal to order prescription drugs over the Internet for illegitimate or non-medical purposes.
- Ordering over the Internet can be more convenient, but may not be the safest alternative. There are legitimate online pharmacies; however, orders from unknown or unapproved pharmacies pose the risk of tainted, counterfeit, outdated or ineffective medications—which may be detrimental to consumers' health. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration can provide information and resources about approved medications and other drug safety tips.
- Do research on the online seller before making a purchase and be skeptical if your search yields negative results. Always check their BBB Reliability Report at www.bbb.org.
- Make sure the pharmacy is properly licensed in each state it ships drugs to. Check with the Washington Board of Pharmacy for more information on local licensing requirements.
- Look for the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NAPB)'s Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites' (VIPPS) seal on the Web site. VIPPS certification means that the site has been reviewed for proper licensing, quality assurance, security of prescriptions, and confidentiality between patients and pharmacists.
To ask questions or find out more information about online pharmacies advertising in your area, contact your local BBB or visit www.bbb.org.