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7 Things to Know Before Buying From Online Pharmacies
Did you know that approximately 66 percent of all adults who currently live within the United States use some form of prescription medication? When you stop to think about the fact that 16 percent of healthcare costs (which equates to around $73 billion) are spent on these types of drugs, that three-quarters of those drugs are prescribed to individuals between the ages of 50-64 and around 40 percent of U.S. households are financially struggling on some level — if you’re someone who’s on a prescribed medication, lowered cost and personal convenience are probably what matter most to you. That said, online pharmacies can be the solution on a lot of levels.
If you’re looking to buy medicine, through this method, you can oftentimes find discounts and you can have your orders shipped directly to your home.
If this is something that you’re interested in doing but you’d like a bit more information before making an actual purchase, here are seven things that you should know beforehand.
So, What Exactly Are Online Pharmacies, Anyway?
Probably the best way to describe an online pharmacy is it’s a company that sells prescribed medications over the internet. One of the best things about them is you’re often able to get the drugs that you need at a lower cost than you would at your local pharmacy because online pharmacies can reach a larger customer base which makes it easier for them to discount their products.
Is an Online Pharmacy the Same Thing As a Mail-Order One?
Before going any further, you might initially think that an online pharmacy and a mail-order pharmacy are one in the same. Not true. For starters, while you can get a prescription that you ordered online through the mail when it comes to an online pharmacy. You can also pick it up at your local pharmacy without having to make an appointment with a physician first.
Also, when it comes to mail-order prescriptions, when you choose to purchase medicine that way, you usually have to go directly through your insurance. However, online pharmacies typically don’t require insurance in order to make a purchase. Since approximately 31 million people within the United States still don’t have health insurance, online pharmacies can be a sigh of relief if you happen to be one of those individuals.
How Do You Use an Online Pharmacy?
Something that’s awesome about online pharmacies is they’re really easy to use. Once you find a reputable one (more on that in a sec), all you have to do is go to the site and peruse the different medications that they have available. Once you know what you want, you then have the option of placing an order online or by telephone. Some even have an online live chat feature.
If you’re unsure of what you need, speak with a customer service agent first. Then use your credit or debit card to make your purchase and a confirmation email will be sent directly to you. Do keep in mind that some companies will require a certain amount Rx prescription information before an order can be placed. This is especially the case if you’re looking to get refills in the future.
Are All Online Pharmacies Safe?
As far as safety with online pharmacies, you do have to use discretion. Although this shouldn’t be the case, there are some illegal sites that will sell counterfeit meds. They also may not follow online pharmacy laws or FDA regulations.
It’s also wise to keep in mind that some prescriptions are illegal according to the FDA. For instance, you cannot purchase controlled substances from an online pharmacy unless it’s been prescribed by a licensed doctor. Something else that’s been recently making waves is the illegal selling of Adderall.
It’s also illegal to buy prescription drugs within the United States if they aren’t FDA approved, even if they happen to be legal in other countries. Bottom line, when you’re looking to purchase prescriptions over the internet, it’s best to go with a company that has been certified by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP). That’s what can give you some personal security and peace of mind.
What About Buying Rx from Other Countries?
With the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration issuing warnings about counterfeit pills being purchased from countries like Mexico that are killing Americans, you must be careful about buying medication online from outside the United States. Another reason why the FDA frowns upon purchasing prescriptions from overseas countries because, if there are unwanted side effects, you may not be able to sue the manufacturer.
One exception is Canada. That’s because it happens to follow many of the same rules and regulations as the FDA. As a bonus, many of Canadian online pharmacies do not require a Canadian prescription in order to place an order.
How Can You Feel Confident About Your Purchase?
Keeping all of this information in mind, how can you feel good about making an online pharmacy purchase?
- Look for NABP-certified or CIPA-certified pharmacies
- Don’t purchase drugs from companies that don’t require a doctor’s prescription (a prescription approved by an online doctor counts, by the way)
- Make sure the site that you’re purchasing from has privacy regulations listed on it (so that they don’t end up selling your personal information to third parties)
- Never buy from a company that does not have clear contact information listed on its site including a mailing address and phone number
- Get the pharmacist’s license number and verify it online before buying anything
Is There a Quick and Easy Way to Find a Safe Online Pharmacy?
There are lots of online pharmacies to choose from. So, if you’re looking for the most efficient way to find a safe online pharmacy, Verywell Health published a list that you can review here. As far as Canada goes, the National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities has some tips that you can check out here.
Where’s a Great Place to Start Shopping?
A highly reputable online pharmacy in Canada is Canadian Pharmacy Online. Feel free to contact us at 1.800.828.4889 or [email protected] Live chat is available too.
We will be more than happy to assist you with your online pharmacy needs.