As platforms for online markets emerge, humans embrace the convenient ways to procure the things they desire and need. For instance, some people prefer to personally purchase their medication in the comfort of their own homes. However, most consumers are still skeptical of purchasing medicine online— for a good reason.
As a wise consumer, you must be aware of the downsides of obtaining your medication using online pharmacies. Many online pharmaceutical websites operate legally parallel to offering utmost privacy and security when purchasing medicine online. Still, consumers should be extra careful when shopping online to prevent themselves from being victims of fraudulent activities.
How to Safely Purchasing Medicine Online
Smart consumers are always careful when dealing with online transactions. Purchasing medicine online pharmacies might put your health at risk if you aren’t cautious enough but may also give you benefits like a free discount prescription card. You may end up having drugs that are not safe enough to take together with your existing prescription, or worse, it is fake, contaminated, or expired.
There are specific guidelines when purchasing medicine online. Normally, legitimate online pharmacies run this way:
- Customers will create an account using the pharmacy’s website by submitting any information if the transaction is via credit or insurance. You are not often required to enter the credit card numbers unless the site ensures its protection. Strictly, your online pharmacy must be licensed to market medicines by prescription in the state that it operates.
- After creating an account, customers are required to submit a valid prescription. Your doctor may call it in, or you can send it to the pharmacy’s physical location via fax or mail.
- Most online pharmacies will deliver products from their main store, while others will allow you to pick up the prescription at the nearest local pharmacy. The medical products are often shipped right away.
- Pharmacy websites customarily provide a way for you to ask questions to their pharmacist, either via phone or email.
What Should Consumers Do?
Now, here are the things that consumers must do when buying medicines online.
1. Do your research and always cross-check. When purchasing medicine online, every consumer should verify the website they are about to navigate. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns that there are rogue online pharmacies that offer really cheap and too many discounted drugs.
Without any reasonable basis for cutting down the prices, these could be counterfeit drugs without the safeguard of proper licensing regulations. If it feels too good to be true, don’t engage.
2. Don’t buy from online pharmacies that allow you to purchase without a prescription. Illegally obtained prescription drugs affect one’s quality of life. The threat may not be obvious now, but it will manifest in the long run.
Licensed online pharmacies will always ask for a prescription from a registered physician to place your order properly. They will ask for a copy of your prescription through the mail, or they will call your doctor to verify the prescription.
Sometimes, they will also ask you to submit any document that will specify your medical history. Plus, they might ask for a detailed schedule of your doctor’s appointments.
3. Do check if their website specifies the form of payment, privacy terms and agreements, and shipping costs. Legal website stores will always be transparent about their consumer’s payment methods and the other fees when carrying out the order.
Also, most registered websites to legally sell drugs will initially present the terms and agreements before you can get through and place your order. Moreover, they will use encrypted websites to secure your online transactions.
4. Don’t purchasing medicine online if they don’t provide a registered pharmacist available for queries. If they don’t have any pharmacists at all, then it’s a fraudulent online pharmacy. In short, it’s illegally operating, and availing their products can be risky.
Regulatory bodies like the FDA will always require registered pharmacists to help consumers obtain the proper medically prescribed products. In this way, consumers will feel more secure getting an accurate product.
5. Consider the sources of information available on the online pharmacy. When you start purchasing medicine online, check the sources behind their products’ information. See if they mention government sites (usually end in .gov) like MedlinePlus, Healthfinder.gov, or if it is associated with fda.gov. All are reputable websites that you can trust to give the correct information.
To make sure if you’re purchasing from a trusted online pharmacy, look at the URL if it ends in .pharmacy. The retailer applicants of .pharmacy websites are thoroughly inspected by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) if they are in compliance and in accordance with the NABP standards to operate legally and safely.
6. Don’t buy from online pharmacies with unknown locations. If you are not sure of the online website’s warehouse facility’s exact location, don’t order from them. Make sure to check if they provide their exact street address and location. To be sure, purchasing medicine online from registered pharmacies located in the United States.
Be keen enough to report to the proper authorities about any suspicious online shops you may have visited. In this way, you can protect yourself as well as others. Visit the FDA’s website about pharmaceutical pharmacies that operate online for more information.