Since the COVID-19 global pandemic came to Indianapolis, there have been long-term shortages of much needed items such as hand sanitizer, paper products, medicines and other supplies.  The stores and online retailers that we know and trust have either run out of stock or are selling limited amounts to customers. Demand is overrunning the supply chain and it may cause some people to want to seek out alternative sources like online shops and pharmacies to get these in-demand supplies.

Unfortunately, scam artists have identified this as an opportunity to prey on fearful people by selling fake COVID-19 protective equipment, treatments and “cures.”  These fake treatments may harm COVID-19 patients directly or cause critical delays in their diagnosis and treatment.  Eskenazi Health encourages its patients, visitors and staff to be very cautious if choosing to purchase medications and supplies online and to avoid scams and counterfeits. The Partnership for Safe Medicines® and Eskenazi Heath offer the following guidance for individuals to purchase medicines safely through online stores and retailers:

1.       Avoid retailers or online sellers offering a “cure,” “vaccine” or a test for COVID-19.

As of June 2020, there are no vaccines or drugs approved to treat or prevent COVID-19 and you could seriously risk your health by taking untested products.

2.       Only buy in-store or from reputable online pharmacies.

Beware of online sellers that claim to have items that are in short supply. Counterfeit and substandard products are commonly sold by third party sellers on large retail platforms. Make sure to only purchase over-the-counter medicines or supplies in U.S. licensed pharmacies (in-store or online).

3.       If you must buy prescription medicines online, be sure it’s a licensed pharmacy.   

Only use pharmacies that are licensed in the U.S. and designated as safe for U.S. patients.  You should only purchase from online pharmacies whose websites end in .pharmacy.  Visit https://www.safe.pharmacy to check to see if your online pharmacy is safe.  Eskenazi Health pharmacists are always available to talk with you about medication needs and Eskenazi Health Pharmacy offers home prescription delivery at no additional charge.

4.       If cost is a concern, Eskenazi Health has patient assistance programs that may help

Additionally, Eskenazi Health is dedicated to helping patients access the medications they need to stay healthy. Through the Value Prescription List, certain medications set at a low price so that a patient doesn’t have to search online for needed medications. Learn more about the Value Prescription List, as well as what medications are on the list, by visiting https://www.eskenazihealth.edu/health-services/pharmacy or call 317.880.7466

You can help everyone safely purchase medications online and avoid scams and counterfeits.  If you’ve seen fake COVID-19 treatments or counterfeit protective equipment, report them to the FDA’s Health Fraud Program or the Office of Criminal Investigations by sending an email to FDA-COVID-19-Fraudulent-Products@fda.hhs.gov.  You can get more information about current COVID-19 scams here.

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