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Buying Prescription Drugs Online: Benefits and Pitfalls

Millions of Americans order prescription drugs online every year. This can save you time, and make prescriptions easier to get for seniors who have difficulty making it to the drug store. It can also be less expensive in some cases. However, buying online isn’t without its pitfalls. Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind.

Use a pharmacy that’s licensed in the US

Not all online “pharmacies” are actually that. Some aren’t licensed in the US at all, and don’t follow FDA regulations. Check with the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy to confirm whether the online pharmacy you’re using is licensed. In addition, look for the Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Site (VIPPS) seal. This indicates that the site maintains a state license and is regularly inspected by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy.

Look for registered pharmacists

Computer and RX Bottles

It’s not easy to find good prices on some prescriptions. But online pharmacies can give you better prices than brick-and-mortar stores—in some cases.

Good online pharmacies will give you a toll-free number that will link you to a registered pharmacist. There are some online pharmacies that also have brick-and-mortar locations you can visit. You want to be sure that if you have questions about a medication’s side effects, you’ll have someone on call to ask.

Watch out for counterfeit drugs

Sometimes, the drugs you order online don’t have any active ingredients—or provide the wrong medicine altogether. Be alert when you order prescription drugs online. Check the packaging for any signs of tampering, and don’t use anything that looks like it’s been resealed. Be sure your name is printed correctly on the label, the dosage matches your prescription, and the expiration date is clear.

Choose US-based pharmacies

Some out-of-country online pharmacies don’t comply with FDA rules—and some are illegal in the US. You are much safer if you choose a pharmacy that’s based in the US. If the website doesn’t list an address, steer clear.

Don’t use sites that let you order without a prescription

Some online pharmacies will allow you to buy drugs without a prescription if you fill out an online questionnaire. This is a red flag that they cut corners in other areas, too—plus, it’s a violation of US law. In addition, avoid ordering medication that isn’t approved by the FDA.

Be on your guard

Counterfeit prescriptions aren’t the only scams you’re vulnerable to when it comes to buying prescriptions online. Another common scam involves a person posing as an FDA or law enforcement official. They target people who have bought prescription drugs through online pharmacies. The most common scheme is to threaten buyers with jail time for buying illegal prescription drugs—unless you pay a fine.

Keep in mind that buying prescription drugs online is not, in and of itself, illegal. There are pharmacies out there that don’t comply with US law, but there are also many perfectly legal pharmacies that sell prescription drugs online in the US. Again, always look for the VIPPS seal—and choose online pharmacies that are based in the US. If you do, you can be sure that your purchases are all in compliance with US law.

It’s not easy to find good prices on some prescriptions. But online pharmacies can give you better prices than brick-and-mortar stores—in some cases. Still, it’s worth it in many cases to compare prices—there are instances where it can be more cost-effective to buy your prescription drugs at your local store instead. Look for a US-based online pharmacy with a VIPPS seal and access to pharmacists—and be alert for fraudulent contacts and counterfeit drugs. If you’re careful about who you do business with, you may be able to save significant time and money buying your drugs through an online pharmacy—with no ill effects.

Fake Online Pharmacy selling Counterfeit Drugs Shut Down – YouTube.com