Drug Information Center

College of Pharmacy

BeSafeRx initiative educates consumers about buying medicines online

Purchasing prescription medications online may be convenient, but it also provides an opportunity for fraudulent and illegal online pharmacies to sell medications outside the system of federal and state safeguards that protect consumers from inappropriate or unsafe medications.  Consumers may not realize that the medications they receive from online pharmacies could be contaminated with harmful substances, past their expiration date, contain the wrong active ingredient, or contain no active ingredient at all.  Substandard medications put consumers at risk for unfavorable outcomes including adverse reactions, allergic reactions, and decreased or absent therapeutic effect.


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has implemented a new public education campaign known as BeSafeRx in an effort to help consumers understand and minimize the risks of buying medications online. This campaign educates consumers regarding the risks of obtaining medications online, establishes criteria for patients to determine the reliability of an online pharmacy, and also supplies patients with a list of reputable internet pharmacies from which prescription medications may be safely obtained.


According to the FDA, safe online pharmacies include those that:

<!--[if !supportLists]-->·         <!--[endif]-->Always require a doctor’s prescription

<!--[if !supportLists]-->·         <!--[endif]-->Provide a physical address and telephone number in the United States

<!--[if !supportLists]-->·         <!--[endif]-->Offer a pharmacist to answer your questions

<!--[if !supportLists]-->·         <!--[endif]-->Have a license with the patient’s state board of pharmacy

For additional information regarding the BeSafeRx campaign and purchasing medications online safely, visit:



To report suspected fraudulent sales of medical products on the internet by illegal online pharmacies:http://www.fda.gov/Safety/ReportaProblem/ucm059315.htm

To report adverse effects from any medical product use to the FDA MedWatch program:http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch/default.htm

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