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Buying Medication Online? What You Need to Know About Online Pharmacies

    Your life is busy enough.

    Between obligations to work and family, you barely have enough time for yourself. Sometimes it can be challenging to squeeze in a visit to both your doctor and the pharmacy. So, it may be very tempting to get their prescriptions through an online pharmacy. However, there are many things to consider when buying medications online.

    Buying medications online may seem more time-efficient and fit your lifestyle. Make sure to keep reading to learn about online pharmacies.

    Benefits of Online Pharmacies

    The most substantial immediate benefit is the time-saving benefit. With online pharmacies, you don’t have to wait in line to drop off your script and then another line to pick it up. Online pharmacies are also perfect for those who live in more rural areas or have difficulties getting around.

    Privacy is another significant benefit.

    Some people are embarrassed when filing specific prescriptions or have social anxiety. In fact, one of the most frequently purchased medications in online pharmacies is for the treatment of erectile dysfunction. Many of the reputable online pharmacies also allow you to discuss medications with a licensed pharmacist, read the information on medication, and more- all from the privacy of your home.

    The last significant benefit of online pharmacies is the price.

    Not only are medications sold through online pharmacies often discounted, but you can also comparison shop with ease. Since online pharmacies have lower overhead costs than traditional brick and mortar stores, they usually pass the savings on to you!

    Also, online pharmacies typically have a large amount of each medicine in stock, stored correctly in a warehouse. Having these available in large quantity also help reduce costs.

    Warning Signs of Bad Online Pharmacies

    One of the significant drawbacks to online pharmacies is that not all of them are fully legal or reputable. They may obtain medications by illegitimate means or incorrectly fill your prescriptions. Also, they may not always be properly licensed. All of these can put you and your family’s health at substantial risk!

    There are multiple signs to look for when deciding on what pharmacy to choose online. First, make sure that they require a prescription. Selling medications without a prescription from a doctor is actually against the law! Surprisingly, some online pharmacies will sell their patients medications without a prescription!

    To go along with this, some of these pharmacies will require that you fill out a questionnaire. The questionnaire is meant to “diagnose” you. This practice can be very dangerous as your personal doctor will have no knowledge or oversight of this diagnosis and treatment.

    The pharmacy’s marketing and sales structure also can be a warning sign. Do they send constant spam email offering prices that are significantly lower than any other place? Chances are- you don’t want to trust your health to this pharmacy.

    Finally, there are other drawbacks related to the actual medications sold through unethical or harmful online pharmacies. Medications may be:

    • Incorrectly manufactured
    • Dosing/strength may be incorrect leading to too little or too much of a dose
    • Expired or out of date
    • Unapproved by the FDA
    • Incompatible with your current medications
    • Not labeled correct
    • Not shipped or per manufacturer’s specifications

    Finding a Safe and Reputable Online Pharmacy

    After weighing the benefits and drawbacks, you still want to move forward with finding an online pharmacy. How can you choose one while making sure you are safe? We have several tips for you!

    The FDA provides multiple recommendations, ensuring a legal and safe experience with online pharmacies. First, you should consult with the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NAPB).

    They can help you determine if the pharmacy is: A) licensed and B) in good standing. Pharmacies that pass the intensive NAPB reviews display the Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites ™ (VIPPS ™) seal on their website. With the VIPPS™ lists, you can feel confident in your choice of online pharmacy as they have thoroughly reviewed online pharmacies in areas including:

    • How prescriptions are filled
    • Protection of confidential information
    • Communication with patients

    Second, if you are in the United States, you should check that the company is also located in the US. Their address and phone number should be easily found on their website. Having this information will allow you to contact them if you have any questions or issues. The pharmacy’s security and privacy policy should also be easily accessible.

    Third, access to a licensed pharmacist should be made available through any online pharmacy you choose. Pharmacists will allow you to speak with them regarding any questions, and they can educate you on the medications you were prescribed.

    Finally, not only should the pharmacy be licensed by the appropriate state’s pharmacy board, but the pharmacists on their staff also need to be state-licensed. It’s important to take the time to discover more. You can verify these licensures through your individual state agency’s website.

    To ensure that your medication is legitimate and exactly what you needed, you can simply check the pill. On the manufacturer’s website, you can locate the description of each tablet per dose. Compare the medicines you receive with that description. This can give you added peace of mind.

    Online Pharmacies Can Be Safe and Useful

    When adequately licensed and ran, online pharmacies are incredibly useful. Online pharmacies are not all bad- some are extraordinarily safe and just as good as your corner pharmacy in your hometown.

    Just be wise when choosing one and stay aware of the warning signs. Only you can decide which type of pharmacy is indeed best for you!

    Check out our blog for more health and fitness tips that you can begin applying today.