Adel Sakr, PhD, professor and director of
Industrial Pharmacy at the UC College of Pharmacy, says online
prescriptions are often low on quality as well as cost.
Only a few countries, including Canada,
have the same strict quality-control guidelines as the U.S., says Dr.
Sakr. And even if the distributor is in Canada, the drug itself could
be from a third-world country.
In the U.S., the Food and Drug
Administration(FDA) requires that each batch of prescription medication
be tested for proper therapeutically active ingredients at the
More important, prescription drugs in the
U.S. must be stored at the right humidity and temperature and protected
from light to prevent them from degrading into a less-potent medication.
Certain drugs stored in the wrong environment can break down to the point that they become ineffective.
"This is why your bathroom is the worst
place you can keep prescription medications," Dr. Sakr says. "Steam,
humidity and heat can create significant changes in their stability.
And leaving them in your car can be just as bad.
"If you order drugs from Canada," Dr.
Sakr warns, "make sure Canadians are buying them from local pharmacies.
If not, they might be counterfeit, or produced in a country without
appropriate quality controls and storage."
To ensure your medications don't make you
even sicker, Dr. Sakr advises, buy them from a local pharmacy and keep
them in a dry, cool, closed cabinet or in your refrigerator.