To most people, ordering prescription medicines online is now the best way to save time, effort, and money especially if it is a maintenance medicine. Imagine the need to purchase the same drug for the entire time you are alive. How much would you save if you will order it online? Still, some are nervous about ordering medicines online especially prescription drugs. People are afraid to refill their prescriptions online because of the things they are hearing and reading about prescription medicines.
According to the Food and Drugs Administration and other health organizations who raised alarm about internet drugstores, only 4% of these e-pharmacies are legitimate. It means that more than 95% are operating illegally – selling unapproved drugs, bogus medicines, tampered drugs (expiry dates were changed to hide its real expiration date) and substandard medicines. In case any of these medicines land in your hands and you end up using it, chances are your condition will turn to worst rather than better. With these being said, how would you know if your online pharmacy is legitimate?
How to Determine the Legitimacy of your Online Pharmacy
A quick online search for online pharmacy will surely give you a list of online pharmacies that you can check and try. Google search result ranking doesn’t mean that a website is legit though, even if it is on top of the search result. For your safety, here are some of the things that you can check to determine if you are dealing with a legit internet drugstore.
Google search result for ‘online pharmacy’
- Check the status of the e-dispensary if it is verified by different health organizations. For US-based online pharmacies, legitscript.com is one of the sites used to verify an internet pharmacy’s status
- If you are ordering from an internet drugstore based outside of US, you should check its status with VIPPS or Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites. If an e-store is verified, the logo of VIPPS should be on their homepage. If they do not have a VIPPS logo, they should have an NABP logo or the National Association of Boards Pharmacy
- A legitimate internet dispensary would always ask for a valid prescription before dispensing an Rx medicine. if your e-pharmacy is not asking for a prescription, it is a red flag
- A legitimate internet dispensary only offers legitimate medicine. Since most internet drugstores are not under any laws of any country, they can sell drugs to anyone, drugs that are illegal in the US but not in the UK. If your internet drugstore is offering these kinds of medicine, be aware. Unapproved medicines shouldn’t be dispensed that easily, even for an online store.
- A legitimate internet dispensary should have a licensed pharmacist that can answer questions from customers. You cannot discuss your condition with a customer service representative and expect a good prescription afterwards.
- A legitimate internet dispensary should be able to provide information about the manufacturers of the medicine they are marketing. If they are offering genuine drugs, it means that they talked to the real manufacturers hence they knew them
- Check the reviews of verified users about your chosen e-dispensary. The possibility of reading a fake review is high hence you should also check some drug forums. There are internet users who are dedicated and vigilant in protecting the safety of online shoppers and that include people who order their medicine online.
There are other things that you can personally do to determine the legitimacy of a certain e-store such as asking some friends if they have used it or heard of a specific store. If you have friends who order their prescription online, ask for recommendations. Your doctor might know some e-store to use as well. They key is asking. Always ask for help.
Risks and Benefits of Ordering from an E-Pharmacy
With the popularity of online pharmacies, it is no surprise that more and more information are being released about online pharmacies. It is now easy to find information about the risks of ordering drugs online as well as the benefits of refilling a prescription online. Here are some of the things we discovered!
Benefits of Ordering from an E-Pharmacy
- Refilling a prescription online is beneficial for elderlies who can no longer visit their local drugstore
- Refilling a prescription online is easier for people who are too busy with their jobs, family, and other responsibilities
- Refilling a prescription online is cheaper as drugs sold online are 70% cheaper when compared to those sold at a local dispensary
Risks of Ordering from an E-Pharmacy
- Refilling a prescription online has a high risks of you being scammed, receiving a fake medicine or losing your money for nothing
- Refilling a prescription online has a high risks of becoming a victim of identity theft
- Refilling a prescription online has a high risks of ending up using substandard medicine
- Refilling a prescription online increases risks of addiction to the drugs you are using
The benefits and risks of ordering online are endless. The only possible way to balance it is to be vigilant when choosing an internet drugstore to trust. If you are seeing numbers of signs that you are dealing with an illegitimate online pharmacy, move on to a new store ASAP.
Finding a legit online pharmacy is now more challenging because fake internet drugstores are getting smarter in making their websites look legit. It means you need to be more vigilant especially if the only option for you at the moment is to refill your prescription online. Check and re-check your chosen e-dispensary before placing an order. It might take some time but once you found an e-store to trust, the benefits of saving time and money on your medicines can be overwhelming.