How to Spot an Online Pharmacy Scam

Telemedicine for the prescribing of controlled substances via online pharmacies are ripe for abuse. So much so that Congress passed the Ryan Haight Online Consumer Protection Act. The act requires that a patient have at least met with his/her state licensed physician at least once in person. Therefore, if you are being diagnosed with an online questionnaire, then you are at risk for a dangerous and incomplete diagnosis. If you speak to a physician licensed in another state, or worse internationally, that physician who engages in the unauthorized practice of medicine under state law to be someone who is not acting in the usual course of his or her professional practice. The physician is NOT allowed to give you a prescription whether online or not. More importantly, you may be given a prescription that you do not need, the wrong prescription, or a prescription pas its effective date or of suspect quality.


As of 2017, only Ohio, Delaware, Florida, New Hampshire, Indiana, Hawaii, and West Virginia allow their physicians to prescribe controlled substances via telemedicine. But ONLY under limited circumstances. Such limitations include (this is not inclusive of the exceptions, others exist so check with your states licensing board): 1. The patient is a current patient of a physician or who is a colleague of the physician. 2. The patient is located in a DEA-registered hospital or clinic; 3. The patient is being treated by, and in the physical presence of a state licensed physician registered with the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA); 4. The telemedicine consult is conducted by a practitioner who has obtained a DEA special registration for telemedicine.


It is very tempting to use an online service to speak with a veterinarian to diagnose and treat your pet’s illness. However, you must first check that the veterinarian is licensed in your state. If he/she is not, then the veterinarian has not passed your states unique licensing requirements. Any diagnosis is out of his/her scope of practice and should be viewed with suspicion.

If you're curious whether or not you need to take your pet to a vet, according to DANA KOCH, VMD, MLAS Veterinarian in an article on, there are ten symptoms that you should go see a veterinarian. They are: difficulty breathing, lack of appetite, changes in drinking and urinating habits, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, collapse or lethargy, abdominal distension or pain, leg paralysis, and eye emergencies.