The Higuchi Biosciences Center and the Drug Information Center at Kansas University warn that it's sometimes difficult to gauge the quality of prescription drugs on the Internet.
Legitimate Internet pharmacies follow legal regulations. Before a prescription is written, a doctor usually examines and interviews the patient. A registered pharmacist working in a licensed pharmacy then provides the prescription.
But some Internet outfits break the rules. An online "consultation" with a doctor a questionnaire without a personal visit may cost as much as $85.
Rogue overseas sites are worse. You may get drugs without answering any questions at all but they may be contaminated or outdated.
If for some reason you feel you must shop online, look for Web sites that carry the label "Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Site" or "VIPPS." More information about the program is available at www.nabp.net.
Another Web resource for information about buying medical products online is the FDA Web site at www.fda.gov.