Purchasing your medications from an online pharmacy is a convenient way to get your prescriptions. But it doesn’t come without its risks.
Ninety-six percent of online-based pharmacies operate in conflict with pharmacy laws and regulations.
Twenty new and illegal pharmacies open on the internet every day. How can you determine which are safe to order from?
Learning to spot legitimate web-based pharmacies is key to safely buying medications online. Keep reading for five guidelines you should follow to protect your money (and your health).
1. Check If There’s a Pharmacist
A certified pharmacist needs to be associated with the website for it to be legitimate.
You’ll want to check that the website is regulated by a pharmaceutical council for the country they’re located. For example, an online New Zealand pharmacy should have members of the Pharmaceutical Society of New Zealand.
You should be able to check the credentials of the pharmacy through their website. This information should be easy to find on the homepage.
Look for ways to chat with the pharmacists, either through phone, e-mail, or online chat. Use the 1-800 numbers listed on the website to contact the medical team if you have any reservations at all.
Tip: It’s a good idea to get all your prescriptions filled at one pharmacy if at all possible. This will allow your pharmacist to get to know you and the medications you’re taking.
2. Pay Close Attention to How They Handle Themselves Online
It’s not a bad idea to read reviews of the pharmacy before buying. Google the name of the website and see what other patients are saying. Reviews will give you a glimpse into how the pharmacy operates and treats its customers.
Be sure to read the privacy policies and security settings for the website. These should be clearly laid out in terms that are easy to understand.
3. Know the Signs of a Rogue Pharmacy
Rogue pharmacies often sell unapproved and counterfeit medications at low prices. And, worst of all, they do so without needing a valid prescription from you.
You can imagine how dangerous this can become. It may be tempting to see your necessary, but expensive, medication online for cheap. But there is no way to guarantee what you’re buying is the prescription you need.
Rogue pharmacies have no governing or certified bodies overseeing their operations. They can send you sugar pills disguised as your painkillers with no consequence.
If the prices are so low that they seem too good to be true, they are. If you’re receiving spam mail about medication sales, steer clear.
An online pharmacy may offer prices lower than your brick-and-mortar store. But if the cost of your medication is unrealistically low, be cautious.
4. Consider If Buying Medicine Online is Right for You
In some situations, purchasing your medication online may not be the best decision.
If you have a prescription that needs to be filled immediately, ordering online won’t work. Though they may fill your order quickly, it will still take days for it to arrive at your doorstep. If you need antivirals or antibiotics, you’ll need to turn your computer off and go to your local pharmacy.
If you need a compounded medication, you’ll need to stick with somewhere local.
Another thing to consider is the limitations you’ll face by waiting for your medication in the mail.
Does your condition require you to take your medicine religiously lest you’ll suffer severe side effects? What happens if there’s a shipping delay? If your prescription were to get lost in the mail, how will that affect your condition?
If you’re many different medications, you may benefit from having a face-to-face relationship with a pharmacist. They’ll be able to advise you on whether your medicines are safe to take together. They’ll also provide useful advice you may not get from an online pharmacy.
5. Use Common Sense
If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a million times – if it sounds too good to be true, it is.
If the prices are too low, it’s probably because the medication isn’t legitimate or safe to take. Is a low price worth taking a prescription with zero active ingredients?
Proceed with caution if the pharmacy claims to sell medicine that is a miracle cure. Scour their website to see if they have research or proof to back-up these claims. If there is no scientifically-backed proof that their miracle cure works the way they say it does, stay far away.
A low price or supposed miracle cure isn’t worth putting your health at risk.
Risks of Buying Medications Online
You’re putting your health at risk if you get your prescription filled at any random pharmacy that you find on Google. Rogue pharmacies aren’t in the business of helping you treat your disease or condition. Their medications may not have the right amount of the active ingredients in it that you need for your condition. They may not even have the right active ingredient in it at all.
Online pharmacies may get your medication dosage wrong. For example, your doctor may prescribe 20 mg tablets, but the pharmacy only sends you 10 mg. Your medication will not produce the desired effect if you’re not taking the correct dosage.
Unregulated pharmacies may even dispense medications that contain harmful or wrong ingredients.
There are many benefits to buying medications online. But, it’s essential to educate yourself on how to do so safely first.
Our tips above can help you determine if a web-based pharmacy is legitimate. Once you’ve found one you can trust, you can rest assured knowing your prescription is safe in their hands.
Enjoy getting your medication, as prescribed, without leaving the comfort of your home!
Check out our Lifestyle section for more ways to make your life easier.