On Your Side Alert: Illegal Diabetes Treatments - NBC12.com - Richmond, VA News

On Your Side Alert: Illegal Diabetes Treatments

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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

There is a warning from the Food and Drug Administration. It says consumers should beware of illegally sold diabetes treatments. If you fall victim to this medical deception, you could be putting your health at risk.

Dr. Sarah Gaffney, HCA Virginia, Pharmacy Clinical Manager, says the warning should be taken seriously. "They can end up with kidney failure, amputation of limbs and other significant issues," she says.

The producers of these fake medications are after a quick buck. Dr. Gaffney says most of the shady operations are online, but it's not the only area of concern. "They will do Television Ads, they will do mailers, they will call and leave messages on phones and they will try to promote it by saying, you can lower your blood sugar naturally or we can significantly drop your A1C," she explains.

The FDA says be on the lookout for these red flags that a company may pitch to you: Lowers your blood sugar naturally, inexpensive therapy to fight and eliminate type two diabetes, replaces your diabetes medicine and effective treatment to relive all symptoms of diabetes. "People can lower their blood sugar too much and go into a coma or if it remains too high, then they do have serious complications from their diabetes," Dr. Gaffney explains.

Many times those fake medications are mixed with real medicine to fool the consumer. The FDA provides a list of medicines and companies you should be on the lookout for. You should always talk to your doctor before switching or buying any medication. Dr. Gaffney reminds consumers that there are legitimate online pharmacies. She says just make sure you shop with caution and if you have questions ask. "To make sure they are legit, they would require a signed valid prescription from your healthcare provider. The pharmacy itself would be licensed with a state board and it would have a United States address, which a lot of online pharmacies don't," she says.

If you run across any of these fake medications you can report it to the FDA. The number is 1-800-332-1088. If you're struggling financially, you have options. Dr. Gaffney says all of the diabetes medication manufactures have patient assistance programs. She also adds, many major drug store chains offer low-cost prescription plans.

Helpful links:

http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm361487.htm

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