Risks Of Obtaining Prescription Drugs Without Proper Medical Care

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Prescription Drug Safety

Under Massachusetts law, licensed pharmacies are the only stores that may sell prescription medications; and licensed pharmacies may sell these medications only to customers who present a prescription from a licensed health care provider. These laws are designed to protect your health and safety and that of your family.


If you buy a prescription drug without having had proper medical care or a proper prescription from a health care provider, there are risks to your health.

Risks of treating yourself with a prescription drug Undertreatment of your condition so that you don't get enough medication to make you well Inappropriate treatment caused by your not getting the right drug for your condition Unsafe treatment that may cause damage to your body or health Drug interactions resulting from dangerous mixing with other drugs you are taking Allergic interactions that could be harmful if you have any drug allergies Medical complications or effects of the drug that could actually worsen your health Bacteria resistant to antibiotics could cause the infection to continue Unexpected adverse reactions or bad effects that could cause illness, injury or even death If you buy a prescription drug from an unlicensed source (e.g., store, market, bodega) rather than from a pharmacy, there are risks to your safety and health.

Risks of illegally sold prescription drugs Unapproved drugs that have not been shown to be either safe or effective Untested and unsafe drugs that may contain dangerous substances Counterfeit drugs that do not contain the drug you believed you were buying Outdated drugs that are beyond the expiration date and may have lessened effectiveness Banned drugs that have been shown to cause illness, injury or death Animal drugs sold for human use but are not safe for human use Contaminated drugs that contain dangerous materials or substances Drugs with little or no active ingredient that will not work Mislabeled drugs that have incorrect ingredients or dosagesą“ŠAn example: Treating yourself with antibiotics If you have a sore throat and treat yourself with an antibiotic for a few days, the symptoms may