Tips for Keeping Yourself Safe

8 03 2013

Wow! It has been a long time since I’ve posted on here! My apologies. Lately, there has been a lot going on with politics and with my life as a Navy wife. Before I find news articles to read, I thought I should make a post about keeping yourself safe. When I explain to people what counterfeit medications are, I usually get the same response, “oh my gosh, that really happens?” And that’s usually followed with, “How do I know my pharmaceuticals are safe?” So I think I’m well over due on a post dedicated on keeping yourself safe.

I found a great article on CBS that was published last year called “Pill pitfalls: Tips to make sure your medication is safe“. It is really hard, sometimes, to tell whether your medication is safe or not. Counterfeiters are very savvy and lets face it, sometimes we just don’t pay attention until something bad happens. Even in the US, we aren’t safe. Last year there were instances with fake cancer drugs, blood thinners, and fake Viagra. Roger Bate (an economist who has written several books about the problem of counterfeit medications) gives tips in this article that I linked above to help make sure what you’re putting in your body will help cure you, not kill you.

  1. Take your own medication – A medical professional has prescribed that medication for you for a reason. He knows your history and knows you. Giving that to a friend, who seems to have the same illness as you, doesn’t always mean it is the right medication for them and vice versa. Reactions from doing this can be fatal.
  2. Buy your medications from a licensed pharmacy – To ensure you’re receiving the real drug, it would be wise to check with the National Association of the Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) or your state’s Pharmacy Board for the address of a licensed pharmacy. If you’re ordering online, make sure they are actually accredited and not just claiming they are. You can check the NABP website or use LegitScript. These two groups only approve sites based in the United States, which will sell FDA approved medicines. If you are out of the country, using a chain pharmacy has shown to be more reliable. You can always ask your hotel whether there are any licensed chain pharmacies in the country. Or use Pharmacy Checker, which has a list according to country.
  3. What does your medication look like? – Check online for what the medication and the medicine packaging looks like before you go to the pharmacy. Ask yourself these questions when you receive your medication, do they look okay, are they crumbling or discolored, are they the correct shape and color, and do they have the proper stamps or logos on them. If you have any uncertainty about them, go back and ask your pharmacist to double check. This may seem like a lot to do, but it is better to ask now than to worry later when you could be doing more harm to yourself. This can also help others out as well.
  4. Follow the instructions – Pretty straight forward. Some medications require and empty stomach while some require taken with food. Always follow the instructions. Even seemingly harmless grapefruit juice can increase the body’s absorption of certain chemicals, resulting in drug overdose if consumed with the wrong medicine.
  5. Check expiration – Discard them if they are expired. Expired medicines can be dangerous and no longer be effective.
  6. A lower cost is not worth sacrifice – When it comes to medications, DO NOT sacrifice your safety or others by purchasing from a “Too-good-to-be-true offer” from spam emails or online ads , more than likely they are too-good-to-be-true. Of the 10,000-plus web-based drug sellers, most of them are unlicensed and are not professional pharmacies. It is illegal to import large quantities of medicines into the United States, but the FDA doesn’t prevent personal importation of prescription medicines for three months supply or less. If you choose to do this, please check on their credibility with the sites I have linked in number 2.
  7. Talk to your doctor before you travel – Before traveling always check with your doctor, you may need a vaccine and you may need to take some antibiotics or whatever you think you may need when you go overseas. This will help prevent any problems of using pharmacies you are unsure of.
  8. Don’t take the medication, if you cannot get a prescription – There have been numerous horror stories where people do not get a prescription because they are either too embarrassed or busy or something else. This usually leads to people buying form unsafe sources. Better to ask for a prescription for that Viagra than having to explain what you did if/when something goes wrong.

These are all great tips! It is easy to find ourselves not following them, but to keep ourselves safe and others, it is best to follow these. Even in the United States these problems still occur.

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