I went to retrieve a printed document at the main office copier/printer/fax yesterday and noticed two unsolicited faxes sitting on the upper tray. The first one was the generic tropical vacation deal; the second was from myfirstpharma.com encouraging whomever to order “prescription medication without a prescription.”
You can go on the site and order the prescription medication they offer:
“Just fill out our online questioner [sic] and one of our doctors will write your prescription. Our pharmacy will then fill your order and ship it overnight to your Door.”
First, let’s address the online “questioner.” It doesn’t ask for your symptoms or why you want the drug. The only exception is purchasing a weight-loss drug. You fill in your height, weight, and BMI to verify obesity. So of course, you can’t lie and say you’re 5′ 4″ and 210 lbs when you’re really 5′ 4″ and 110 lbs. [sarcasm] Click the “Buy now” button and all of the shipping and billing information pops up with the “questionnaire” at the end. You must agree or disagree with the questionnaire that consists of the following:
- I agree not to take any over-the-counter medicines without approval from my pharmacist. If you disagree, please explain why.
- I agree not to take medication if I am pregnant, breast-feeding, or trying to get pregnant. If you disagree, please explain why.
- Please list all current medical conditions.
- Is there anything in your medical history that you consider to be relevant?
- Please list all over-the-counter and prescription medications that you are currently taking and the length of time for each.
- Please list all medication that you plan to take while on this program.
- Please list all past or present allergies including allergies to any medications.
- Please list all past surgeries and provide details including the condition that was treated with each surgery.
- Please explain the specific medical reason for ordering this medication. The physician must know the exact nature of your medical problem in order to prescribe this medication. This cannot be left blank.
- Are you currently taking this medication? If yes. How frequent do you take the medication in one day?
If you disagree with any of the above, you need to specify why. (Not sure if you get denied, but it’s what the site requires.) Need an anxiety medication? You can buy Buspar. Want to try different antidepressants without having to go through the hassle of seeing your doctor and dealing with insurance? You can choose from Bupropion, Fluoxetine, Wellbutrin, Paxil, Effexor, and Lexapro.
I highly getting recommend Effexor on your own. [sarcasm]
Needless to say – but I’ll say it anyway – this is ridiculously dangerous. It’s cheaper to go through your doctor ($15 copay, most likely) and insurance (probably a $20 copay), but if you can’t afford that and can somehow afford prescription medication on your own, you’d better cough up some serious dough. Here’s the going rate for effexor on the site:
30 pills at 37.5 mg – $191.00
30 pills at 75 mg – $209.00
30 pills at 150 mg – $217.00
90 pills at 37.5 mg – $361.00
90 pills at 75 mg – $447.00
90 pills at 150 mg – $427.00
In KBTX.com’s article about the subject, Dr. Garth Morgan of University Family Medicine makes a few good points:
“It’s actually very scary for this type of website to actually exist. You have no way of knowing the physician that is prescribing this to you, or if they’re actually a physician,” [Morgan] said. “Looking at the website there is nothing on there that tells you who the doctors are that are prescribing it.”
“Medicines on the site are addictive, medicines on there have a black market value, and people could sell them on the black market,” said Morgan. “If people get on these sites and start ordering these medications and taking them incorrectly they’re going to be coming to the emergency rooms or my office and I won’t have an idea what they’re taking.”
“The medicines that are meant for prescriptions mean you have to have someone follow over you, look over your shoulder, work with you,” said Morgan. “It doesn’t mean it’s just an inconvenience that you have to have a piece of paper to get the medication.”
I found some more information on panicdisorder.about.com (of all places) about the risks involving the purchase of non-prescribed medications:
What is dangerous about buying medications online?
You may find yourself facing the following dangers if you purchase drugs online without a prescription:
- Web sites offering medications without prescriptions are illegal and are not regulated in any way. The medication you purchase may be contaminated. It may not be the correct product or it may not even be a medication. You may be given the wrong dose.
- Wrong medications and dosages put you at risk for drug interactions and other health consequences.
- Both the FDA and the American Medical Association agree that it is unsafe to take prescription medication without seeing a doctor for a prescription. These illegal Web sites often will provide you with medication after you have filled out a questionnaire. A questionnaire cannot determine if a treatment is appropriate for you nor can it figure out if you have any underlying medical conditions that may be complicated by the medication.
- If you purchase medications without a prescription from a foreign Web site, you are at risk for being ripped off financially and there will be little you can do about it. It is generally illegal to import most drugs purchased from these kinds of sites.
I’d like some illegal Percocet, but I’d be too much of a scaredy-cat to give any of my credit card info online.
Here’s the lesson, kiddies: Don’t purchase meds online, even if your PCP is clueless to the risks of psych drugs. It’s worth adding that you shouldn’t even purchase psych meds if your PCP is prescribing them.
(photo from The Red State)