The drug industry has a warning for you: Stay away from prescription meds. They're too dangerous.
Not their drugs, of course -- the new warning campaign from Pfizer and the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy is designed to scare you away from buying your meds online.
And they do have a point: Many online "pharmacies" are shady fly-by-night operations where you'll never know if you're getting the real thing or an even more dangerous substitute.
But as bad as a phony med might be, could it really be a whole lot worse than the genuine drugs that sicken or kill millions of people around the world every year?
For example, one of the warnings raised by the new campaign is that meds bought online could be "contaminated" with rat poison.
That's a hoot -- because "genuine" meds also have rat poison in them, except they don't call them "contaminated." They call them "blood thinners," since warfarin just so happens to double as a rat poison.
Now, don't rush off to replace your warfarin with actual hardware-store rat poison (although you can feel free to leave your warfarin in a rat trap). I'll get to the real solution in a moment.
First, the numbers that are supposed to scare you away from online pharmacies: NABP, a professional group that represents pharmacies and pharmacists, says it did a search online for drugs and found 8,000 sites -- but that 96 percent of them didn't appear to be following the laws or even the organization's standards.
Similarly, Pfizer said its buyers did an online search for Viagra and found 26 sites selling the sex drug -- but all of them were operating illegally and 80 percent were selling counterfeits.
The company's online mystery shoppers also found phony versions of 40 of its most popular meds -- including Aricept, Celebrex, Lipitor, Norvasc and Zoloft -- for sale in some 100 countries.
But the drug industry doesn't care about your health -- only your wealth, and when you buy counterfeit meds, they don't get to pocket your cash… and that's the real reason for all this concern.
After all, the industry created the problem: Sky-high prices have helped pad profits, but they've made meds unobtainable for many. And recent artificial shortages have made some of them difficult to find even for people who have the means.
But instead of picking bad real meds or worse fake ones, you have another choice: no meds at all.
A skilled naturopathic physician can work with you to get you off the drugs you don't need. Take, for example, that rat poison I mentioned earlier. As it turns out, fish oil can have the same blood-thinning effect -- just don't expect it to work as well in your rat trap.