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Anyone who has traveled into the small border towns in Mexico has surely seen the number of 'farmacias' that line the streets. They are usually nothing more that a small store with a person in a white lab coat working behind the counter. The danger here is that the prescription medication that is readily available may not be medicine at all.

The Food and Drug Administration has warned consumers about these dangers. The warning reminded people that 'drugs purchased in foreign countries are not regulated by the FDA' and 'do not carry the same FDA assurances of safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality as drugs purchased within the United States.'

What is truly bothersome now is the proliferation of internet pharmacies. Unless the web site carries the 'VIPPS' logo, you truly cannot be sure where the medication originated. Only on-line pharmacies that 'have demonstrated to National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) compliance with VIPPS criteria including patient rights to privacy, authentication and security of prescription orders, adherence to a recognized quality assurance policy, and provision of meaningful consultation between patients and pharmacists.' To find out more on VIPPS certification, go to this site

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