Online prescription weight loss products are becoming rampant today. The internet has evolved to become not just a powerful source of information, but also a cyber market for different products, including weight loss pills. But how safe are weight loss prescription products sold online? How good are the supposed online health care experts in giving you sound advice in weight loss?
Online pharmacies: Should you trust them?
Online pharmacies selling drugs that do not need prescription began ballooning in 2000. That year, hundreds of pharmacies sprung in the internet. The format of these online pharmacies is similar to that of community pharmacies. The primary difference is the method by which the medications are requested and received. Many people consider online pharmacies as more convenient than traveling to a community drugstore. However, most internet pharmacies are selling prescription drugs that do not require a prescription. This practice has been criticized as potentially dangerous, because you can buy just about any drug over the internet. There have been reports of pharmacies dispensing substandard products.
Weight loss pharmacies
Among the online pharmacies that were established, the online weight loss prescription pharmacy is probably the more popular one. Not only do individuals get to buy weight loss products without prescription - they can do it discreetly without anyone ever knowing about their purchase.
An online weight loss prescription pharmacy sells different kinds of weight loss products, such as Acomplia, Regenon, Tenuate, and Xenical. According to BBC online, six of the top ten web drugs are weight loss products including Xenical, Phentermine, Meridia, Bontril, Ionamin, and Adipex.
Apart from selling online weight loss prescription over online pharmacies, several illegal drugs are also being sold online. BBC also reports that among the top ten web drugs include Viagra and Prozac, the latter being an anti-depressant drug that definitely needs prescription to be sold.
Online monitoring company Envisional claims that online pharmacies are exposing consumers to huge risks and are creating problems for pharmaceutical companies whose products are being sold on unregulated sites.
Most of the drugs sold online, including online weight loss prescription drugs, are not paying attention to local regulations. Add to that the alarming number of online pharmacies delivering drugs directly to consumers without prescription, and the effects could be devastating.
Envisional's research showed that it was very easy to obtain performance-enhancing drugs used by bodybuilders and athletes, as well as online weight loss prescription drugs, some of which have been banned by the USFDA.
A huge market
The rise of online pharmacies is a result of the huge patronage that the online community has accustomed to them. According to reports, it is estimated that the market for online prescription drugs will be US$4.4 billion this year. Most of the consumers for online pharmacies live overseas, thus making it hard for the local government to fight against the growing industry.
The problem is then unquantifiable and difficult to solve. Hundreds of sites are being put up everyday, selling online weight loss prescription drugs and others.
Why visiting your community pharmacy is better
According to Envisional's Chief executive Brian Earle, the pharmacy and prescription system exists for a reason. That is, to protect consumers from harmful side-effects of drugs they are not equipped to understand.
Several websites claim to have an in-house pharmacist or doctor that can help you in buying drugs. These so-called doctors are said to be knowledgeable and can give you sound advice. However, reports have shown that some of these doctors are unlicensed, putting into question the reliability of these online pharmacies.
At present, the US government is coming up with legislation to tighten the reigns on these online pharmacies. There was a proposal to impose fines on websites that sell drugs without prescription. However, this is not enough because websites that sell drugs overseas will definitely skirt this law.
There is a lot of debate ongoing about whether the pharmacies or the buyers are breaking any state or federal laws and, if so, what those laws are. The local office of the Drug Enforcement Agency and the U.S. Attorney's office are not involved in the arrests that have been made. The arrests are strictly local. That is not to say the federal agencies may not at some point take a much closer look at these online pharmacies. The first step to probably decreasing these online pharmacies is to stop patronizing them.