Is It Safe to Order Medicine Online?
Online pharmacies and medical supply e-commerce shops are the new trends in purchasing prescription and over-the-counter medications. With the convenience that their door-to-door deliveries bring, it’s not hard to simply add things to your shopping cart.
The question is, is it safe to buy medicines online? We address this concern below.
Should You Buy Prescription Medicines Online?
People are now turning to the internet to shop for their necessities. This often includes medications, which are sometimes easier to fill online versus making a trip to the pharmacy. And it’s no surprise because this option brings convenience, privacy, and a wider range of generic and branded options.
Plus, there are countless websites selling prescription medicine and other health supplies complete with the important must-know medical information, a practice that is not usually seen in a local pharmacy.
For the most part, those websites carry the same reliability and credibility as that of an actual brick and mortar pharmacy—thanks to testimonial and review features of mobile apps and drug sites. Some of them are even run by pharmaceutical companies and have professionals licensed by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy.
Still, one must practice caution when shopping for medication and health needs online. Despite the efforts of governing bodies to eliminate the illegal online drug trade, non-FDA-approved sites still exist.
Such sites did not undergo standard assessment for drug safety and effectiveness, storage facility, handling measures, and price points.
Risks of Buying Medicine from Non-FDA-Approved Online Websites
Safety and credibility top the list of dangers of purchasing medication online. Since most websites only require filling out a questionnaire for orders, one is left in the dark as to who he or she is interacting with on the other end.
A legally running internet pharmacy normally requires a prescription and needs to have a licensed health professional handling such a process, but others may lure customers with false accreditations.
There is also the possibility of acquiring fake, substandard, contaminated, or outdated drugs when shopping for prescription medicine online.
Such drugs may contain way too little amount, way too much, or none of the active ingredients needed to “treat” a condition, instead coming with fillers such as eggs, flour, or chalk. It’s no surprise that these ingredients cause dangerous side effects and trigger allergic reactions.
Lastly, not all health and online pharmacy companies have safe and proper logistics, handling, and storage guidelines in place.
Buying from Online Pharmacies and the Risk of Self-Diagnosing
Another downside of online shopping for medicine is the control it gives the consumer. Such modern practice encourages people to think that they are medical experts, which then leads to the slippery slope of self-diagnosing.
Problems arise when this happens as not all medications work the same, especially prescription drugs. Wrong dosage, intake route, and schedule of intake also come as risks of self-diagnosing. While they seem simple and easy to address, they actually pose grave threats to one’s health and life.
How to Avoid Being Scammed Online
As always, arming yourself with the proper information can help you avoid getting scammed online. Beware of online pharmacies that:
- Offer extremely low prices for the medicines and health supplies they sell
- Allow buying prescription medicine without a valid prescription from a doctor
- Spam your inbox with unsolicited “deals” or discounts
- Promote an all-cure or immediate-effect medicine
- Do not have a licensed pharmacist available for internet consultation
- Do not have security and FDA-approved seals on their websites
- Claim that experts are working together to block well-known, legal medicines to sell theirs to consumers
- Highlight undocumented case histories and faceless testimonials claiming amazing results
- Aren’t encrypted, meaning any information you type in can be seen and used by anyone who comes across it
Always check for the registration details of the online pharmacy you are purchasing from. A simple search on the Internet will already give you an idea of the level of safety and credibility that they have. Indeed, even having “https” in the beginning of their URL can help indicate that a site is safe.
To help you identify a safe online pharmacy, look out for those that:
- Require a valid prescription from a doctor for a prescription medication
- Have a National Association of Boards of Pharmacy-licensed pharmacist to answer customer queries
- Provide a consumers hotline and an office address where one can file order complaints or reach out for assistance
- Display FDA and VIPPS (Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites) seals
- Contain “.pharmacy” in the web address, as this address can only be used by sites that follow the law
- Have been licensed in the United States
Buy Medicine Safely Online
It’s hard to regulate the emergence of illegal drug sellers online. As such, the responsibility to exercise caution and care is in one’s own hands.
Knowing how to safely buy medicine online is even more important for those who are on maintenance medications. For instance, those who are looking to buy Saxenda online would do well to heed the tips above and make sure that their medication is coming from a legitimate source.
Do your research. If the reviews are too good to be true or the website has a record of selling counterfeit or damaged drugs, close the tab.
Most importantly, consult with your doctor about your new-found option before you buy. After all, your doctor can give you sound medical advice on whether your choice is safe.
Order Your Medicines from PharmaServe
PharmaServe Canada Ltd. is an online referral service in North America with direct access to various FDA-regulated medicines. We legally sell medical products in the United States while also having a registered dispensing pharmacy in Manitoba, Canada.
We are proud to work with Canadian and international pharmaceutical companies to give our consumers access to a wide array of medicines on our website. Should you have any questions about filling your prescription through an online pharmacy, contact our team today.