For Immediate Release
Contact: Tony Reiss (605-201-2512)
Sept. 10, 2013

Leading healthcare groups launch advertising campaign to protect vulnerable South Dakota residents from fake online pharmacies selling counterfeit prescription drugs

New campaign uses Facebook advertising and health events to reach patients likely to try fake online pharmacies

Sioux Falls – The Internet is awash with thousands of websites claiming to be “discount Canadian pharmacies for Americans”, but they aren’t Canadian, they aren’t pharmacies, and they don’t sell FDA-approved safe medication.   Two organizations dedicated to protecting South Dakota patients launched an online campaign today to educate South Dakota patients about the dangers of counterfeit drugs and fake online pharmacies.

“Health Connect reaches thousands of healthcare consumers annually at community events, such as, health fairs” said Executive Director Fran Rice.  “We have worked with the Partnership for Safe Medicines (PSM) to produce materials we hand out at health fairs that teach consumers and patients how to save money on the cost of prescription drugs when they buy them from the local pharmacist.  For those without a nearby pharmacist, this handout teaches healthcare consumers how to find correctly licensed online and mail order pharmacies.”

“The Internet can be a great lifeline for rural communities in providing valuable health information.  However in this case it’s far too easy for the criminals to use it to prey upon South Dakota residents.  We are supporting this campaign by distributing this information at numerous community events, where we help educate the state’s residents about how to buy online safely”, said Rice.

“The criminals selling dangerous fake medicines operate their fake Internet pharmacies from outside the US where they feel safe from prosecution”, said Marv Shepherd, President of the Partnership for Safe Medicines.  “You can’t prosecute this problem away, the best way to protect patients is to teach them to only do business with licensed pharmacies.”

Facebook advertising is scheduled for September 20th, 2013 through October 20th, 2013.

Health Connect is an independent source of free health information for individuals, families, and communities.  You can find the materials for this campaign and more information at http://www.healthconnectsd.info/

The Partnership for Safe Medicines is a group of over 70 not-for-profit organizations that have policies, procedures, or programs to protect consumers from counterfeit or contraband medicines.  PSM members include patient advocacy groups, healthcare professionals, healthcare distributors, and both branded and generic prescription drug manufacturers.  You can find more information at http://www.safemedicines.org/.