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What to Know Before You Buy Prescription Drugs Online From a Pharmacy

Cold, noisy, crowded, and full of sick people to catch an illness from – picking up prescriptions from a brick-and-mortar pharmacy is a hassle.

It’s time-consuming, expensive, and exposes you to needless risk. But the real reason to buy prescription medication online isn’t about your bottom line. 

In the long run, it saves you money.

Keep reading to avoid the common pitfalls of trying to buy medication online.

Why Buy Prescription Drugs Online?

Prescription drugs bought over the counter are more expensive than those ordered online. That’s particularly true for U.S. residents, where drugs can cost eye-watering amounts.

Insulin, for instance, costs an average of $450 in the US.

It’s a life-saving drug and not a luxury for those that need it. Type I diabetics require insulin regularly to stay alive – and, without insurance, the monthly bill for insulin can cost thousands of dollars. A few missed doses of the drug can prove lethal for insulin-dependent patients.

Overall, prescription drugs in the US cost 300% more that the global average, or four times the amount. That’s a sobering number and a median US consumer spends more than $1,000 per year compared with somebody living in Sweden, who pays only $350.

And in some US states, such as Texas, almost 20% of the population doesn’t have any health insurance – increasing the cost of over-the-counter medication.

Benefits of Buying Online

Buying prescription medication online has some extra benefits:

  • It’s convenient
  • It’s more cost-effective
  • It’s reliable
  • It’s easy to compare generic and named brands
  • Your privacy is protected

Your local pharmacy may not have your preferred brand, and the smaller, “mom and pop” stores don’t have the means to stock large inventories. Online retail stores typically have large stock, offering you more options to choose between with fewer sold-out items.

Plus, doing so from the comfort of your couch saves you time. You don’t have to observe the opening and closing times and you won’t have to stand in line to wait your turn.

What’s more, most online pharmacies have 24/7 live chat services that let you speak to a qualified professional about your requirements. You can get instant information on name-brand and generic medication and help to pick the best solution for your needs.

If you live in a small town or suburb with nosy neighbors, you might not want them to know how often you head to the pharmacy – or for what. Medical conditions are nobody else’s business. They’re private affairs, and ordering prescriptions online is discreet.

And that’s not to mention the savings – online pharmacies have lower overhead costs that they pass on to you.

Why Buy Canadian?

What can a Canadian pharmacy do for you?

Most Canadian prescription drugs follow the same regulations as US-made ones. The difference is in the cost savings – healthcare in Canada is substantially less expensive, unlike in the US.

This is because the United States does not regulate drug prices the way other countries do. On top of that, the healthcare system is more convoluted than in many other western countries. Canadian prescription drug prices are set in negotiations between the Canadian government and the drug companies.

Buying Canadian means buying high-quality, regulated prescription drugs at a fraction of the price.

However, not all drugs made in Canada are approved by the FDC. It’s your responsibility to verify that a purchase you intend to make is legal before you finalize the sale.

How To Buy From a Reputable Vendor

Your first order of business is to verify a seller’s integrity.

When buying on the internet, you’ll come across dubious sellers who promise exceedingly low prices or offer to sell prescription medications without a valid prescription.

These safeguards exist to protect consumers. Without them, you run a risk of consuming untested or unsafe medications, and as inflation and the cost of living rise, so too does the popularity of disreputable online pharmacies.

In 2021, the US saw a 30% increase in deaths from drug overdoses, largely driven by the fentanyl crisis. Yet that’s not the full picture and phony prescription medications played a role.

It’s becoming increasingly common for questionable ingredients, shipped by criminal drug networks from China and Mexico, to find their way into counterfeit pills. These fake pills are marketed as drugs like Vicodin, Xanax, and Adderall.

They aren’t, and the people who mistakenly buy them suffer as a result.

How To Find Reputable Vendors Online

Knowing how to find a reputable online pharmacy isn’t as hard as you think. There are three elements to bear in mind.

  1. An online vendor should require a prescription for all prescription medication
  2. An online vendor should have pharmacists on-hand to answer questions
  3. The prices should not be “too good to be true

If you’re unsure about any of the points above, you should avoid a vendor and find an alternative.

Importantly, your prescription shouldn’t come from an online vendor. In the US, prescriptions require prior consultation with a doctor, and any business promising to issue a fast prescription online is deceiving you.

Warning Signs To Look Out For

The problem with vendors who sell at massive discounts or without licenses is that you don’t know what’s in their products.

They might contain too much or too little of the active ingredients required to treat your condition. They might contain no active ingredient at all. Or, they might have unknown additives that you can’t verify.

And prescription drugs need to be stored properly. They require the right temperature, conditions, and safety protocols. These steps ensure medicine can’t go bad or be tampered with.

When assessing an online vendor, watch out for these warning signs:

  • They don’t have licensed staff to answer questions
  • They don’t require a doctor’s prescription
  • The packaging has no expiration date
  • The websites sell your data
  • They have no official certifications
  • They offer limited-time discounts if you purchase quickly
  • They add unexplained surcharges to their invoices
  • They don’t have a physical address or telephone number
  • They have no written privacy policy, terms of service, or statement on protecting your financial data

Reputable sellers never try to hide anything. Their certifications, terms, prices, and physical addresses are all easy to find on their websites and they’re always happy to answer your concerns.

Always err on the side of caution when buying. It’s your own health that’s at stake.

Reporting Complaints

Should you find an illegal vendor when browsing for online medicine, you can report them to the FDA by filling out a simple form. Doing so is voluntary: It’s fine if you click off their website and continue browsing.

When you submit an illegal vendor complaint, you may withhold your contact information, or request that be withheld from a manufacturer or website owner.

Checking Your Drugs on Delivery

All licensed prescription medication has an expiration date – without exception – so check it once your package arrives.

If possible, compare your delivery with the prescribed medication you already have at home. The pills should look similar in shape, color, and size. If you’re still uncertain, show them to your doctor and ask for a second opinion.

How To Get a Prescription Filled Online

It’s legal for US citizens to buy medications online under the right circumstances. The process is fairly straightforward, and most vendors offer multiple avenues to place your order:

  • Ordering from an online catalog
  • Ordering over the phone
  • Ordering via live chat

Ordering via live chat lets you speak to a representative, who may be able to advise you about named versus generic brands.

To confirm your order, you’ll need a copy of your prescription within arm’s reach to scan and upload, or a digital prescription. Many clinics offer digital prescriptions to their patients, so ask your doctor or the clinic staff should you need one.

You’ll also need to provide your doctor’s contact details. This is a security step that allows vendors to minimize risk – the ability to verify that a patient has received a particular prescription adds a layer of protection against prescription fraud.

Order Your Prescriptions Online Today

When you buy prescription drugs online, you save yourself the hassle and added cost of buying at brick-and-mortar stores. All you need to do is ensure you’re buying from a reputable vendor, place your order, and sit back and relax.

If you need your prescriptions filled online quickly and reliably, we can help. At Canadian Pharmacy Online, we make the process as simple and easy as possible. Click here to learn how you can have your prescriptions delivered straight to your door.

Works Cited

FDC (2020, September 21). Considering an online pharmacy? Retrieved January 28, 2023, from

FCD (2022, June 12). Reporting unlawful sales of medical products on the internet. Retrieved January 30, 2023, from

NiceRx (2021). Prescription drug report. Retrieved January 28, 2023, from

DoJ (2021, October 31). USA Today op-ed: As illegal drugs trade goes from the corner to the web, rising deadly threat of fake pills. Retrieved January 28, 2023, from

Hoth, T. (2022, December 13). 10 ways to save money on healthcare. Canadian Pharmacy Online. Retrieved January 28, 2023, from

Hoth, T. (2023, January 19). How much cheaper are Canadian pharmacies compared to the US? Canadian Pharmacy Online. Retrieved January 28, 2023, from

Hoth, T. (2023, January 27). Can you get Canadian prescription drugs in America legally? Canadian Pharmacy Online. Retrieved January 28, 2023,