Fake Pharmacy ID Program Expands to Include Managing Prescription Drugs in the Home

Marjorie Clifton, left, of CSIP and NC Secretary of State Elaine Marshall at last week’s Advisory Council to Combat Counterfeit Medication in Raleigh.

The North Carolina Secretary of State’s Advisory Council to Combat Counterfeit Medication convened last week to review the progress of the VerifyBeforeYou Buy initiative (see Bulletin article on the North Carolina Medical Society’s involvement) and to look ahead to the second year of the program.

“North Carolina is the model. You set the stage,” Marjorie Clifton, executive director of the Center for Safe Internet Pharmacies (CSIP), told the council members. North Carolina was the pilot state for the Verify Before You Buy initiative, which launched just over a year ago. The Verify Before You Buy website allows consumers to make sure the online site from which they are purchasing prescription medication is not fake.

Clifton told the Council members that since the awareness raising campaign began in North Carolina, 20,000 people throughout the state are consistently active on the website. She also noted that Google shut down 120 million fake websites last year, but compared the efforts to eradicate these sites to a ‘whack a mole’ game, with new the sites popping up continually. Not only do these sites offer useless or harmful prescriptions, they often are non-delivery schemes where the user’s identity and credit card information is stolen and they never receive what they ordered.

Contact Elaine Ellis (eellis@ncmedsoc.org) at the NCMS to request cards to give to patients with information on how to avoid illegitimate online pharmacies.

Awareness raising will continue around counterfeit pharmacies, but the initiative is broadening to include education about the opioid abuse epidemic and resources to help families affected by it. The new campaign is called MedicineSafe and is a coalition of local community organizations, the state governments of Connecticut and North Carolina, and other national partners. The goal is to provide safe tools and information about prescription drugs including resources to help find safe ways to manage prescription medicines in your households – whether buying, storing or addressing addiction. Learn more about MedicineSafe and be sure to watch the moving videos about the impact of opioid abuse on families.


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