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Dangerous Meds From the Net: Indiana Senator Could Have Some Say

Why what you get that says it's from Canada may be counterfeit or even toxic

WASHINGTON, D.C.--You are being warned about medication that comes from the internet. Some people are buying medications from sites that claim the medicine you are getting is coming from Canada and is approved by their version of the FDA. That is likely not for real.

"The FDA has found that up to 95 percent of the medications sold by websites claiming to sell Health Canada-approved medicines actually sell U.S. consumers medicines from foreign countries, places where you wouldn't even drink the water," said Libby Baney, executive director for The Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies. 

"Sometimes those medicines are even counterfeit, so they have no active pharmaceutical ingredient in them or too much, too little, or even toxins. And there's no way for a patient to know by looking at them."

She said one of Indiana's senators could have some influence over whether or not the government cracks down on these potentially-dangerous meds. Sen. Todd Young is on the Senate HELP Committee, which stands for Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

"Senator Young is very thoughtful, as is Sen. Donnelly, thinking about how to make sure that Hoosiers have access to safe, affordable medicine," said Baney.

She said, though, that most senators on the committee haven't come up with a solid policy to address meds coming from other countries, sold on the web.

"Members of the HELP Committee, including Sen. Young, my understanding is they're still thinking about how to approach this issue, and there are many proposals."

She said you can log on to their website, www.buysaferx.pharmacy, to find out more about foreign-sold meds and ways to keep people safe.

"The FDA has said many times that they cannot ensure the safety of medicines purchased from outside the U.S. government's control. Moreover, the government of Canada has said we cannot control the safety of medicines sold into the United States," said Baney, adding that the internet is an unsafe place for prescription meds in general, she believes.

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