Saturday, August 12, 2006

'Self-Prescribing Online Has Dangers'

Now that’s a headline written by Dr. Obvious. Let’s see – diagnose yourself, respond to spam, give your credit card number out to someone overseas, all in the hope that they ship you what you actually ordered.

Shall we indulge our vulgar taste for a little risk / reward analysis?

Potential rewards:

1. You actually make the correct diagnosis, determine the correct drugs and dosages, order and actually receive same. And you know it’s what you ordered, because you’re an experienced chemist / pharmacist / physician able to test the product. Oh wait! If you could do any of that, you wouldn’t be buying drugs from unknown vendors over the internet!

Potential Risks:

1. It’s only a fly by nite pharmacy with small ambitions, so they ship you some placebos. Best case scenario.

2. You give your credit card out over the net to a fly by night pharmacy that doubles as a front for Nigerian Oil Minister scams. Kiss the credit rating goodby & welcome to the world of self induced identity theft. Most likely scenario.

3. You actually receive what you ordered. However, you’ve either mis-diagnosed your problem, or picked a drug with serious side effects. So you only go blind. But, since the pharmacy is an honest one, you aren’t swindled out of your credit limit as well. That’s some consolation for long winter nights listening to the wireless since you can’t read or see the TV. Not a far fetched scenario.

4. It’s only a fly by nite pharmacy, but with larger ambitions, but poor quality control. ‘ Hey Sid – which one is Prednisolone?’ ‘Uh, I dunno…. Just send him a bottle of the blue ones…’. This has the potential to add the risk of serious and potentially terminal medical problems, along with the added bonus of the credit scam noted above.

If you are going to persist in your quest to become King of the Mugs, just make sure you buy enough “I’m with Stupid” t-shirts for friends and family to wear when they have to appear with you in public.