Guest Blog: Online Pharmacies: What You See May Not Be What You Get

By Marjorie Clifton (Originally posted on IP Delivers)

How many times have you purchased your must-have item on the Internet because you found a better price or didn’t feel like going to the store? You wouldn’t be alone; an increasing number of consumers are using the Internet to buy everything from clothes to pet food.  According to the Partnership at, one in six  consumers are also purchasing their prescription drugs online.   In most cases, consumers assume they can detect an authentic website, and they will be getting the product they see on the screen.

But, just like your mother used to tell you about things you saw on TV, what you see isn’t always what you get.  Don’t get me wrong – the web can be a great place to buy things, but consumers need a way to verify that they are getting safe products – especially when it comes to prescription drugs.

The scary part is that some of these websites use copied trademarks or logos from genuine products and companies to fool consumers into thinking they’re buying the real deal. So, if you bought your prescription drugs from an uncertified site, beware. It could be a dangerous fake and the health and safety of your family could be seriously compromised. And the likelihood you would have redress is nominal because the criminals behind these troublesome cyber dispensaries don’t abide by internationally recognized standards, don’t answer to authorities, and don’t answer to you.

But fortunately for online shoppers everywhere, a group of Internet service providers came together to do what they could to protect consumers who want to buy prescription drugs online. The Center for Safe Internet Pharmacies (CSIP) is an organization that seeks to educate consumers about the potential dangers of purchasing from illicit online drug sellers as well as provide consumers with a tool to check the safety of online pharmacies. The board member companies include online advertisers, social media companies, financial intermediaries and payment processors, domain registries and registrars, and shipping companies. CSIP members not only work to educate consumers, but they partner with law enforcement and each other to share information about rogue sites and find ways to stop them from using their platforms. They aim to be a role model and resource to companies around the globe to solve this worldwide challenge. Partnering with LegitScript, CSIP offers consumers a pharmacy-checker tool which allows you to check the legitimacy of your online drug seller and even report sites that you suspect may be rogue.

Interested in learning more? Be sure to the check out CSIP’s website or the Global Intellectual Property Center’s (GIPC) Dangerous Fakes campaign.

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