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Online Pharmacies: Is It Safe Shopping With Them?

Checkpoints Of Ordering Drugs Online

Is it safe to order drugs from online pharmacies? Given that it became our second nature to shop, work and meet new people online, how much trust should we put into mail-ordering medications? E-commerce is convenient beyond any doubt, and the industry is thriving, suggesting that this approach is worth its salt – FDA reports some 400+ online pharmacies and parapharmacies registered for the present day.
When you are about to buy drugs online, extra caution won’t hurt. You don’t want to end up paying for dummy pills or counterfeits, or deal with illegally operating e-market players.
We will dwell upon the most essential things to consider before you commit to order drugs from any particular online pharmacy.

The Pros You Enjoy When You Buy Drugs Online

Clicking drugs from home or anywhere on the run from a mobile device provides a level of convenience and confidentiality unmatched by walk-in drugstores. This rings especially true for residents of remote locations and those whose ailment or age prevent them from traveling to the physical store.

Another reason to shop online is to avoid a face-to-face contact with the pharmacist and other customers. It is not a coincidence that the most popular drugs sold online is Viagra (sildenafil), an oral drug for erectile dysfunction.
Buying drugs online does not take away the option of talking to your pharmacist: quite the opposite, many of them provide an in-house consultant who can answer any questions you may have about your medication. There is also always a lot of information about the use of drugs and conditions they treat on the website.

Do I Risk Anything Buying Meds Online?

With a bona fide e-pharmacy, there are no risks involved – the drugs ordered there are as reliable as the ones you can source locally. One should keep a lookout for rogue online drugstores though, and we cannot stress this enough. The risks involve unscrupulous practices with drug distribution, the lack of compliance with FDA regulations, unreliable methods of personal data storage and processing, etc.

Among unreliable e-health businesses, steer clear of pharmacies that:
· Lack state licensing and therefore are not authorized to sell drugs
· Do not require a valid prescription, which is a serious breach of existing regulations
· In lieu of requiring a prescription, will rely on the answers collected through an online form – this diagnosing method is not reliable and can lead to significant damage to your health.
· Provide insufficient or unreliable informational support
· Have weak or non-existent Web security protocols to protect your sensitive information

These pharmacies distribute products that:
· Are counterfeits
· Are produced without regard to existing standards
· Contain inadequate doses of the active substance
· Contain excipients of poor quality or are downright dangerous
· Do not have sufficient shelf life left
· Are not FDA-approved and their use entails major risks for your health, sine their effects are either not studied or considered dangerous
· Are incompatible with other drugs you might be taking
· Are transported, stored or marked without regard to industry’s requirements

Guide To Safely Buying Drugs Online

Hopefully, these FDA guidelines on safe mail-ordering of drugs will help you shop in a risk-free way:
· Run the pharmacy service through the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NAPB) checker to see their licensing information. They currently list 15 online pharmacies as Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites (VIPPS).
oThe alarming fact is that NABP reports that only 1% of existing pharmacies comply with the current state regulations and federal laws.
oThere are 17 check points for the NAPB authorities to survey before they conclude whether or not the service is compliant with the regulations: these points include prescription policies, customer confidentiality level, availability of customer support, etc. Look for the VIPPS seal to see if the company is certified b the NAPB.
· Avoid pharmacies that violate the laws applicable to prescription drug distribution
· Do not order from drugstores that have unregistered drugs and meds unapproved by FDA
· Buy drugs online only if there is an on-staff pharmacist available for patient consultations
· Bounce off e-pharmacies that do not provide information on their physical address and landline phone number, as well as those that are not registered in the U.S. or lack visible and comprehensible terms and policies.
· Be highly skeptical when it comes down to hitherto undiscovered “quick fixes” for serious ailments. Whenever a new drug is approved by the FDA, the word will spread through official sources – other instances are scams.
· The same concerns pharmacies that promote their unlicensed products justifying their lack of licensing by conspiracy theories.
· Always make sure that the drug you order comes in the original package; if there is something off with Reporting A Rogue Pharmacy

Any suspicious pharmacy or the one that gave you sufficient grounds for complaint can be reported directly to FDA at the following link:
Reporting Unlawful Sales of Medical Products on the Internet
The take-away message: There exist safe ways to buy drugs online; shop responsibly to accrue the benefits of e-shopping without the risks!

Last Edit - 19 Jun 2020, write by Susan Levy

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