Where Can I Find Reliable Medical and Prescription Drug Information?

June 9, 2009

in Internet

by David Hakala

People are taking greater interest in and control of their health care these days. The Web enables people to research medical conditions and treatments thoroughly, ask doctors the right questions, and find treatments that work when traditional medicine fails.

The greatest medical science advancement in modern times is the placement of drug information on the Web in font sizes big enough to be read without a microscope. is the premier site for drug information. Its databases contain all the standard information printed illegibly on “patient information brochures” included with prescriptions, plus current and archived news about drug recalls, FDA actions against particular drugs, research on the efficacy of different drugs, and much more.

RxList is a subsidiary site of, the leading health information portal. WebMD provides breaking news in the health care field; doctor and hospital directories; pill identification; and in-depth research reports on medical conditions of all kinds. If you want to know anything about medicine or what’s going on in the medical field, WebMD probably knows it.

If you are shopping for prescription medications online, comparing prices is pretty easy. Most major pharmacy chains have online mail-order services at their Web sites. is a Web-only pharmacy that is fully licensed and in compliance with all federal laws. You can easily save 15 to 30 percent off the cost of prescriptions at retail stores.

You may be wondering about international pharmacies. Is it legal to buy drugs from another country where prices are low and have them mailed to you here in the U. S.? Is it safe, both medically and financially? Well, as one who has used foreign pharmacies since 2001, I’m here to tell you my personal experiences. It’s not legal advice and it’s not medical advice.

The legality of importing prescription drugs is hotly debated. Under U. S. law, you can bring up to a 90-day supply of foreign-purchased drugs for which you have valid prescriptions into this country. They won’t be seized at the border inspection station. So why can’t you have them mailed to your home address? The official answers are full of hems and haws.

In my own experience, I’ve had only one shipment of drugs seized by Customs out of dozens. There were no legal repercussions for me, just a form letter saying, in effect, “We took your stuff because it’s on a list of things we don’t allow through.” There was no citation of any specific statute that I might have violated.

The medical safety of foreign-purchased drugs is a major concern. Nothing at all prevents foreign online pharmacies from peddling counterfeit pills. While there is no reason for them to sell you something poisonous (aside from the “terrorist” bogey-man), what you get may be ineffective and therefore harmful. You have to be very careful in choosing a foreign pharmacy. Research its reputation well.

Your money is somewhat at risk when you purchase drugs from a foreign pharmacy. The pharmacy could be a fly-by-night operation that takes the money and runs. It could be a phishing scam that collects and sells credit card information to crooks that will clean you out. There is that risk of Customs intercepting your shipment, and some foreign pharmacies will say that’s your tough luck. The one I use replaced my seized shipment free of charge. That’s one reason I’m their loyal customer.

The Web opens up enormous realms of medical knowledge and power to laypersons. Like all unfamiliar territory, it can be dangerous. Explore online medical information with your eyes wide open.

David Hakala has perpetrated technology tutorials since 1988 in addition to committing tech journalism, documentation, Web sites, marketing collateral, and profitable prose in general. His complete rap sheet can be seen at