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Online RX Drug Caution

<br><font size=2> <P>If you buy goods online, you may want to think twice about what you purchase from online pharmacies.</P> <P>Consumer Reports has a prescription for you on what not to do when purchasing online pharmaceuticals.</P></font>

There are plenty of monthly bills that worry people these days. But a survey from consumer reports says not being able to cover medical bills, including the cost of prescription drugs, is consistently at the top of the list.

If you're considering shopping online for drugs from other countries, Consumer Reports says don't do it! Greg Parker has more.

Molly Clevenger takes prescription medicines every day. She's considered buying from websites outside the U.S.

"When push came to shove I just really thought - where is this coming from?"

But a Consumer Reports National Research Center Survey found that in the past year, nearly three million people have ordered a prescription drug from an online pharmacy outside the U.. What's wrong with that?

"Any website located outside the U.S. does not fall under the Food and Drug Administration's oversight. The reality is - you cannot be certain of what you're getting when you buy from these sites."

And it's not just websites outside the U.S. In a review of more than 83-hundred online pharmacies, the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, or NABP, found a majority don't require a valid prescription. And nearly half sell drugs that are not approved by the FDA.

In all, the NABP found only a fraction of the online pharmacies reviewed - just over three percent - appear to be legitimate.

Molly Clevenger didn't want to take any chances.

"Bottom line: I just wasn't sure that the pill I took out of the bottle was gonna be the right stuff."

But Consumer Reports says there are ways to shop safely online.

Stick with Pharmacies you know, like Walmart, CVS, or Target.

And always look for this VIPPS symbol. It means the pharmacy is located in the U.S., dispenses only FDA-approved medication, and requires a prescription from your doctor.

As for saving money, almost every big-box and chain-store pharmacy offers a discount generic-drug program. You can find a month's supply of certain popular medications for as little as four dollars.

For KFDX-3 News, I'm Greg Parker. Back to you.

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