How to choose online pharmacy

ONLINE PHARMACIES: ARE THEY SAFE?

It seems that you can buy just about anything over the Internet That may be a good thing when it comes to purchasing CDs and watches, but it may not be so good when it comes to prescription medications.

online pharmacy
Convenience and lower cost are the two main reasons people say they like to get their prescriptions from online pharmacies. If you don’t want to drive to a drugstore to get your prescription and you can wait a few days or a week to get your prescription in the mail, then you may find online pharmacy services convenient. However, if your child develops an earache and you want antibiotics immediately, an online pharmacy won’t be able to help you.

If you are homebound or live far from a pharmacy, online drug availability can be very convenient Online pharmacies also allow you to comparison shop for price and availability. When it comes to cost, you must consider the cost of shipping. Once you tack on postage and handling fees, the cost of your prescription may meet or exceed your neighborhood pharmacy.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns consumers that they should beware of shady websites, undocumented claims, and illegal deals when it comes to online prescription drugs. Here are some of the factors you should consider before you make an online purchase.

Suspect any online pharmacy that does not require you to mail in your prescription, or one that does not verify your prescription with your prescribes These practices suggest that these pharmacies have little or no regard for their customers’ health or welfare, because they do not bother to make sure individuals are getting the proper prescription and that the drugs are indeed going to the person for whom they were intended.

Suspect any online pharmacy that dispenses drugs based solely on a questionnaire you are asked to complete online.

There is no way the recipients of your questionnaire will know whether you are telling the truth, and basically anyone can fill out a questionnaire and say they need a particular drug. Some state medical boards are taking action against health-care practitioners who prescribe medications over the Internet. Why? Because these health-care practitioners do not know you or the condition of your health. They can only rely on what you tell them.

  • Make sure the website offers a street address for the pharmacy service and a toll-free number you can call. If these are not available, do not use the site.
  • The pharmacy should have a pharmacist available to answer your questions, either via phone or E-mail correspondence. Preferably this service should be free. If no pharmacist is available, do not purchase from that site.
  • Be wary of websites that offer only a few drugs, especially “lifestyle” drugs—those that help you lose weight, improve your sexual performance, or grow hair. Such sites may not be legitimate.
  • Review the pharmacy’s guidelines regarding confidentiality of patient health-care information.
    Do not patronize any website that makes unrealistic claims about “magic cures” or quick-fix medications for serious medical conditions.
  • Question any site that claims to be backed by well-known medical institutions or government agencies without first checking to see if their claims are true. This means you’ll need to contact the institutions or agencies named (which can be done easily online via their public information offices), but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
  • Buy from nationally recognized chains (e.g., CVS, Walgreen’s, Drug Emporium) or established prescription businesses (e.g., American Association of Retired Persons Pharmacy Service).
  • Beware of foreign websites. They may be dispensing sub-potent, outdated, contaminated, or counterfeit products. Even though the Food and Drug Administration contacts foreign pharmacy sites and questions their activities, many continue to operate.
  • Look for a site that offers a money-back guarantee and promises reasonable delivery times.
  • Look for the Verified Internet Pharmacy Practices Site seal on the websites you visit This seal is an endorsement from the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP), an organization that can tell you whether a particular online pharmacy is in good standing.
  • You can also contact each state board of pharmacy (the state in which the online pharmacy is physically located) to verify the pharmacy’s legitimacy.

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