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Jul 1 2015

Free Continuing Education program on illegal Online Drug Sales

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The Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) and the Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies (ASOP) have teamed up to offer online continuing education (CME/ CPE) for physicians and other prescribers, as well as pharmacists. The free program is focused on the growing problem of illegal online drug sales.

This program, entitled “Internet Drug Sellers: What Providers Need to Know,” is a learning activity that encourages participants to discuss the risks and patient safety issues involved with purchasing medications from a rogue Internet pharmacy. The program is available at www.fsmb.org/free-online-cme-cpe-activity.

The course will guide participants through understanding the common characteristics of illegal online drug sellers while raising awareness about the issue. After completing the program physicians and pharmacists will have a proficient understanding of this issue and be armed with the current tools and resources to identify fraudulent online pharmacies.

Recent studies found that nearly 97% of online drug sellers are operating illegally, and that half of websites selling medicine online deal in counterfeit drugs. Consumers, lured by the cheap prices promised on rogue websites, may end up paying a higher price than anticipated, as medications may be counterfeit, ineffective, or adulterated with other ingredients, including potentially toxic chemicals. The problem is significant, with an estimated one in six Americans purchasing drugs online without a valid prescription at some point.

Experts agree that education is the key to combating the problem effectively. As trusted health care professionals, physicians, physician assistants and other prescribers, along with pharmacists, play a key role in educating consumers about the risks associated with purchasing medications online from an unverified source. This program offers medical professionals the information necessary to help patients protect themselves from illegal online drug sales. Input for this activity was provided by the U. S. Food and Drug Administration and from faculty from the University of California at San Diego, LegitScript and the Federation of State Medical Boards.

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