Those of us who knew LBI, Life Before Internet, recall the most famous travel book of our generation – Europe on $5 a Day. It appealed to students and backpackers who wanted to travel on the cheap. Even today, students studying or volunteering abroad are searching out bargains. Money is tight and saving a few bucks here and there can make the difference.
However, don’t let frugality overtake sound judgement.
Our friends at ProMED reported a study that many on-line pharmacies are selling fake medicines at discount prices. While most drug websites are safe, there are internet scammers out there who are pushing snake oil on travelers struggling to stay on budget. Budget travel should still mean safe travel.
Here are some of the abuses that have been uncovered.
- Suspicion that deeply discounted drugs were stolen
- Drugs shipped from locations different from website address
- Sites not approved by pharmacy quality rating agencies
- Substituted drugs shipped instead of brand name medicines ordered
- Counterfeit medicines
- Drugs shipped without a doctor’s prescription
If you want to save some money, buy a backpack that is not equipped with Wi-Fi. Don’t economize on your anti-malaria medications. Buy them from a legitimate outfit that plays by the rules. We suggest doing this at a pharmacy you know or the mail-in service you already use. But, if you do decide to use an on-line pharmacy, use caution. Is the on-line pharmacy site approved by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) or another recognized rating agency. If anything about the website or the pills themselves seems off, make the right decision.
We’re not against saving money. Some anti-malaria pills, such as doxycycline, are much cheaper than others. Talk to your travel doctor before departure to determine if an inexpensive alternative is appropriate for you.
When it comes to your medications or travel vaccinations, get the real deal. If the medicine is fake and fails, the disease will still be real.