Medicated For Your Protection
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Once upon a time there used to be a lot of ads on this site, care of Google, from dodgy pharmacies. The overwhelming majority were fraudulent, but at least I’ve told you that often enough. You won’t see too many ads like that any more, as that has landed Google in a bit of trouble. Constantly checking such ads has meant you get to see the back-up ads I have, which take you to Straitjacket T-shirts, our Cafe Press store where you can buy shirts emblazoned with witty messages in our singular pill font, and Burning Mind Books, our Amazon store with the books used as reference material for this site. Google is none too happy with all of that, and is taking action against those crooks.
In a way that makes selecting an online pharmacy both easier and harder. It’s simpler in that you’re not constantly bombarded with ads from hundreds of disreputable sites promising drugs without the need of a prescription; drugs that are usually counterfeit and range from useless to dangerous. It’s more difficult because you might get lazy and think any place that advertises on Crazymeds via Google (or other sites, including those using Microsoft and Yahoo as ad servers is legitimate. It’s still no guarantee.
Fortunately there are a few easy ways to determine if a pharmacy is unlikely to take your money in exchange for fake meds, if anything at all. The most obvious of which is offering to sell you meds without a prescription or having one of their ‘doctors’ write the prescription for you. Any site doing that is a scam, and you should scan your computer for spyware after leaving.
Some pharmacies will ask for information about the condition(s) you’re treating in order to verify with one of their doctors that you’re not ordering something dangerous. That is the sort of thing a decent mail-order/Internet pharmacy should do. Depending on where a pharmacy is located, they may be required to have a local doctor review the prescription and have a copy of your driver’s license (or similar form of ID) sent to them in order to fill your order.
Another obvious red flag is any pharmacy outside of the US offering to sell you stimulants, benzodiazepines, opioid-based painkillers, or any other controlled substance, whether you have a prescription or not. That’s not legal, and you really should check your computer for malware if you visit a site that offers to do illegal crap.
The best way to tell if a pharmacy that isn’t an obvious scam is legitimate is to check if they are certified by the appropriate agency.
In the US the people who certify that someone is qualified to be a pharmacist - National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP)1 - run the Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites (VIPPS) program. Verified pharmacies will have the VIPPS seal on their site that links to their verification information. You can also enter the pharmacy’s URL at the bottom of the VIPPS page to see if it’s verified or not, or scroll through their massive (28 as of this writing) database of US-based online pharmacies that won’t screw you over.
They also run a program for veterinary pharmacies.
Canadian pharmacies are verified by the Canadian International Pharmacy Association (CIPA). As with VIPPS, CIPA-certified sites display the CIPA seal that links to their verification information. CIPA also has a verification page where you can enter a pharmacy’s URL and browse their hugely extensive list2 of 14 certified pharmacies. I especially like how they also list known fraudulent websites on the same page.
Pile of Pills
Medicated For Your Protection
There may be certification programs for pharmacies based in other countries, but I haven’t found them.
That’s all there is to it. As long as a pharmacy is certified by an appropriate accreditation agency and doesn’t offer anything illegal, it’s probably safe, otherwise shop elsewhere. As for which one to pick after that…
Has someone else complained about the pharmacy in question? One thing the Internet is good for is voicing complaints, loudly and frequently. If someone has had a bad enough experience, they might just register a domain for the express purpose of voicing a complaint about something3. Just enter the name or the URL of the pharmacy in question into Google and look at the nature of the results you get. If there are too many results, add words and phrases related to complaints like “delay,” “wrong,” “customer service,” “sucks ass.”
You can do similar search looking for praise. Of course just like anywhere else people put far more energy into complaining about something than they would in praising it. And you often run into ads for the pharmacies.
It’s now a lot more difficult to find any mention of specific pharmacies because, for some bizarre reason, PayPal considers discussing specific online pharmacies as facilitating the sale of drugs. No, really. Somehow telling you that one certified pharmacy has good customer service, or another with a very similar name to the first is a fraudulent site gets you into trouble because of this:
5. violat[ing] applicable laws or industry regulations regarding the sale of (a) tobacco products, or (b) prescription drugs and devices. -- PayPal’s acceptable use policy.
So don’t expect to find any reviews of Internet pharmacies on sites that take donations via PayPal.
For more information on avoiding fraudulent ‘pharmacies’ and picking legitimate ones, see the FDA’s guide to buying medicine online. They also have a fancy PDF version, amusingly located in their Emergency Preparedness & Bioterrorism section. I shit thee not.
I’ve purchased prescription medications from several different CIPA-certified Canadian pharmacies. They each have their good points and their bad points. If someone you trust is happy with a particular certified pharmacy see if the meds you need are available and what they cost. Then pick a couple other certified pharmacies to compare, and if their prices aren’t that much different, just use the same pharmacy as your friend/family member. Sometimes some things in life can be that easy.
No matter what the FDA, various non-profit and assorted other non-governmental organizations, and people with websites like this one4 try to do, there are plenty of morons out there more than ready to give their money to crooks in exchange for anything from harmless placebos to dangerous concoctions. Case in point this experiment by Central Michigan University researchers. Not only did they created patently obvious bogus pharmacies, but had said pharmacies sell a fictional medication. Half of their fellow students were willing to buy Beozine from at least one of the ‘pharmacies.’ So I don’t have any expectations as to how much good our efforts will do.
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2 As Canadia has a population that's around 11% of the US, that's comparatively way more extensive.
3 Although costcowebpharmacysucks.com is no longer expressly about how much Mr. Robinson hates CostCo's online pharmacy, I still love the passion of his screeds. His site is an example of what made teh interwebs great. There just aren't enough sites like this anymore.
4 Rather, sort of like this one. I doubt if there's a website anything like Crazymeds.
How to Choose an Internet Pharmacy by Jerod Poore is copyright © 2011
Author: Jerod Poore. Date created: 25 May 2011 Last edited by: JerodPoore on: 2014–05–31
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Almost all of the material on this site is by Jerod Poore and is copyright © 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014 Jerod Poore. Except, of course, the PI sheets - those are the property of the drug companies who developed the drugs the sheets are about - and any documents that are written by other people which may be posted to this site will remain the property of the original authors. You cannot reproduce this page or any other material on this site outside of the boundaries of fair use copying without the express permission of the copyright holder. That’s usually me, so just ask first. That means if want to print out a few pages to take to your doctor, therapist, counselor, support group, non-understanding family members or something like that - then that’s OK to just do. Go for it! Please. As long as you include this copyright notice and something along the lines of following disclaimer, I’m usually cool with it.
All rights reserved. No warranty is expressed or implied in this information. Consult one or more doctors and/or pharmacists before taking, or changing how you take any neurological and/or psychiatric medication. Your mileage may vary. What happened to us won’t necessarily happen to you. If you still have questions about a medication or condition that were not answered on any of the pages you read, please ask them on Crazy Talk: the Crazymeds Forum.
The information on Crazymeds pertains to and is intended for adults. While some information about children and adolescents is occasionally presented (e.g. US FDA approvals), pediatric-specific data such as dosages, side effects, off-label applications, etc. are rarely included in the articles on drugs or discussed on the forum. If you are looking for information regarding meds for children you’ll have to go somewhere else. Plus we are big pottymouths and talk about S-E-X a lot.
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Nobody on this site is a doctor, a therapist, or a pharmacist. We don’t portray them either here or on TV. Only doctors can diagnose and treat an illness. While it’s not as bad as it used to be, some doctors still get pissed off by patients who know too much about medications, so tread lightly when and where appropriate. Diagnosing yourself from a website is like defending yourself in court, you suddenly have a fool for a doctor. Don’t be a cyberchondriac, thinking you have every disease you see a website about, or that you’ll get every side effect from every medication1. Self-prescribing is as dangerous as buying meds from fraudulent online pharmacies that promise you medications without prescriptions.
All information on this site has been obtained through our personal experience and the experiences family, friends, what people have reported on various reputable sites all over teh intergoogles, the medications’ product information / summary of product characteristic (PI/SPC) sheets, and from sources that are referenced throughout the site. As such the information presented here is not intended as a substitute for real medical advice from your real doctor, just a compliment to it. You should never, ever, replace what a real doctor tells you with something from a website on the Internet. The farthest you should ever take it is getting a second opinion from another real doctor. Educate yourself - always read the PI/SPC sheet or patient information leaflet (PIL) that comes with your medications and never ever throw them away. OK, you can throw away duplicate copies, but keep at least one, as that’s your proof of purchase of having taken a med in case a doctor doubts your medical history. Plus they take up less space than a bottle, although keeping one inside of a pill bottle is even better.
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‘Everything is true, nothing is permitted.’ - Jerod Poore
1 While there are plenty of books to help you with hypochondria, for some reason there’s not much in the way of websites. Then again, staying off of the Internet is a large part of curing/managing the disorder.
2 Remember kids, Microsloth operating systems are like TOS Star Trek movies with in that every other one sucks way, way more. With TOS Star Trek movies you don’t want to bother watching the odd-numbered ones. With Microsloth OS you don’t want to buy and install the even-numbered ones. Anyone who remembers ME and Vista knows what I mean.
3 Have I mentioned how open source operating systems for commercial applications is one of the dumbest ideas in the history of dumb ideas? I don’t even need my big-ass rant any more. Heartbleed has made my case for me. And that’s just the one that got all the media attention. The very nature of an open source operating system makes security as much of an illusion of anonymity. Before you flip out too much: the domain Crazymeds is hosted on uses a version of SSL that is not affected by the Heartbleed bug. That’s one of the many reasons why I pay a lot of money and keep this site on Lunarpages.