Buying Prescription Medicine Online: What Are the Risks?

Buying Prescription Medicine Online

Purchasing prescriptions online is one of the things you can do to minimize your medication costs, especially now that customer costs for medicines are continually rising. There are plenty of online drugstore choices available on the web, which supposedly makes it easy for customers to purchase their prescriptions online—however, despite the marked benefits of purchasing medicines online (like lower medicine prices, for instance), it is also a bit risky.

An online pharmacy

Risks Involved in Purchasing Medicines Online

Although there are a lot of benefits in purchasing medicines on the web (given you’re purchasing from a legitimate drugstore), we’re here to discuss the possible risks of getting your medications online.

It is quite risky shopping for your medicines online, especially if you don’t know how to distinguish legit sites from scam ones. All of the disadvantages involved in online drug purchases stem out of one factor—running into illegal online pharmacies.

Purchasing from illicit web pharmacies can cause you the following disadvantages:

  1. Lost money – Illegal online pharmacies are notorious for stealing buyer payments and never shipping orders. This is actually the least of your problems when encountering nefarious drugstore operators since they are capable of doing worse things than not giving you value for your money.
  2. Wrong products – In some cases where online scam pharmacies are a bit benign, buyers are merely shipped the wrong products intentionally. However, like mentioned earlier, being shipped the wrong products is not the worst thing you can experience when encountering online scammers—there are actually more things to worry about.
  3. Placebo items – Some unlawful online drugstores tend to advertise selling brand name products but only to send customers placebo pills that naturally don’t work. I’ve seen complaints of customers not experiencing anything despite taking 10s of pills from a certain web drugstore.
  4. Unapproved medications – More often than not, customers purchasing from blatantly illegal shops end up getting unregulated products from who-knows-where. Unsurprisingly, these medicines are not approved by at least the local FDA and are dangerous to use.
  5. Fake items (too little or too much of the active ingredients) – You may also be sent counterfeit products by illegal online shops. FDA lab reports on many online-sourced pills indicate that the products contain less or more of the supposed active ingredients of the items. It is not too deleterious for consumers to receive medicines with too little amounts of the active ingredients; on the other hand, customers receiving medicines with too much of the active ingredients may end up getting sicker or dead due to their bodies being unable to handle the extra active ingredients in the medicines.
  6. Fake items with different active contents as advertised – Most illegal online pharmacies sell unregulated medicines with erroneously labeled active ingredients. For instance, FDA warnings are issued for a lot of herbal medicines claiming to contain “all natural” ingredients that support proper erectile function. However, the FDA reports concluded that these supposedly herbal “Viagra” products actually contain the active ingredient Sildenafil Citrate, which makes the products dangerous to take by patients with existing medicines contraindicated to Sildenafil Citrate (like blood pressure medicines, heart medicines, diabetes medicines, and so on).
  7. Fake items with contaminations – Reports from Pfizer (on Viagra’s website) also relate that fake websites send contaminated products. According to Pfizer, some fake pills found online not only contain hidden active ingredients, but also elements that are never intended for human consumption like paint, harmful chemicals, wood shavings, and other materials.
  8. Stolen credit/financial information – Some evil online stores are not content with just stealing your payments—some of these illegal shops just use the online sites as a front to steal customer credit, debit, or financial information. Illegal operators use the stolen data for their own benefit, like going on a shopping spree, booking flights and hotels, going on a vacation, paying their bills, and committing other despicable acts.

The risks of running into these problems are real, making it imperative for consumers to be knowledgeable in locating genuine and legitimately operating online pharmacies.

Benefits of Shopping from a Real, Legally Operating Online Pharmacy

Although the risks of getting scammed online or getting fake products are real, not all websites are illegal. There are plenty of online stores known for their integrity, excellence, and authentic and effective items. Stores like the ones included on our list of Top Online Pharmacies have plenty of benefits for the consumers, such as the following:

  • Genuine and effective products – Purchasing from legitimate online pharmacies assure you of getting authentic products effective in treating medical conditions they were intended for.
  • Affordable medications – Medicines at real online pharmacies are advantageous to purchase given their low costs compared to local drugstore prices.
  • Exciting deals – The best online shops do not only offer cut-rate priced products—most of the shops also offer good deals like free shipping, free products, limited-time discounts, special coupons or vouchers, and a plethora of other deals.

Sample of buyer reviews for an online pharmacy

Sample of buyer reviews for an online pharmacy

  • Guaranteed deliveries – One of the best things you can expect from legitimate websites is the reliable deliveries. Although deliveries are not perfect (you can expect delays along the way), you can expect good stores to fulfill orders 100% of the time.
  • Excellent refund or return policies – Should your orders get lost or damaged or if you receive wrong orders, you can expect legitimate stores to replace your orders or to process your refunds.
  • Peace of mind – I personally think this is the best advantage of legit online stores—the peace of mind that comes with every purchase. It’s a big thing for a shop to take care of your financial details and keep you safe while browsing the store.

Bottom Line

Illegal online pharmacies are scary and can do worse than inconvenience you with a non-fulfilled order. You can have your financial details stolen or end up getting dangerous substances when transacting with a nefarious website operator, hence making it important for you to know how to look for legit and illegitimate shops while shopping for your medicines online.

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