recommended reading

FDA goes after online pill pushers

Thinkstock

The name of the Food and Drug Adminsitration's new public awareness campaign, "BeSafeRx," has the same ring to it as the websites you aren't supposed to be trusting: "expressrx4les," "healthydrugsonline," "ineedmypill.com" and 10,000 others that the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy identified and recommends against.

It also comes off, at first glance, as a bit of a no-brainer. Don't buy pills from the people spamming your inbox -- it's like not accepting unwrapped Halloween candy from your creepy neighbor, except riskier. But the FDA's survey of over 6,000 people revealed that only 13 percent of those who had purchased drugs online checked to see if the site was licensed. Almost one in five admitted to purchasing medications from websites that weren't affiliated with their local pharmacy or health insurance plan, and 47 percent of those same people relied on comments and reviews to verify the drugs' safety.

In person, we know the basic warning signs of potentially unsafe medications: if they're sold by some dude in a back alley instead of your pharmacist, or aren't protected by layers of frustratingly effective protective seals, something's wrong. As NPR reminded us this week in a piece about the 30th anniversary of the Tylenol poisoning episode that lead to safety seals on pill bottles, it would seem we've learned these lessons well, but maybe we're so used to the internet being the solution for everything that it's become easy to forget how great the risks of buying unvouched-for medications can be. The Internet is your friend, right? 

Read more at The Atlantic.

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Close [ x ] More from Nextgov
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from Nextgov.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • It’s Time for the Federal Government to Embrace Wireless and Mobility

    The United States has turned a corner on the adoption of mobile phones, tablets and other smart devices, outpacing traditional desktop and laptop sales by a wide margin. This issue brief discusses the state of wireless and mobility in federal government and outlines why now is the time to embrace these technologies in government.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • A New Security Architecture for Federal Networks

    Federal government networks are under constant attack, and the number of those attacks is increasing. This issue brief discusses today's threats and a new model for the future.

    Download
  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    Download
  • Software-Defined Networking

    So many demands are being placed on federal information technology networks, which must handle vast amounts of data, accommodate voice and video, and cope with a multitude of highly connected devices while keeping government information secure from cyber threats. This issue brief discusses the state of SDN in the federal government and the path forward.

    Download
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.