Tips For Safely Buying Medications Online

image Large drugstore chains, smaller local pharmacies, and other lawful organizations sell drugs online. In this situation, the benefits of buying drugs online are clear:

  • Convenience, especially for people who are not able to get to the pharmacy easily or within business hours
  • Saving time
  • Saving money
  • Privacy
Because you cannot necessarily go to the company you buy from, disreputable companies can take advantage of online consumers. The risks in this situation include:
  • Receiving fake, unapproved, outdated, substandard, or harmful drugs
  • Ordering from a company that does not have quality control standards for preparation and packaging
  • Getting the wrong medication
  • Not receiving the medication after paying for it
  • Not having the correct label information
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) offers the following tips for making your online medication purchases safe and rewarding.

The Importance of Getting a Prescription

Only buy prescription medications online if your doctor has already diagnosed your condition and prescribed the medication. Taking prescription medications without the advice of your doctor puts you at risk for not treating your condition correctly, adverse reactions, and dangerous drug interactions. When prescribing a medication, your doctor considers a number of factors, including:
  • Your overall health
  • Your age
  • Conditions that you have
  • Other medications or supplements that you are taking
  • Your lifestyle habits, such as drinking alcohol or smoking
All of these factors can influence how a drug will affect you.

The Importance of Buying from a Reputable Site

Reputable sites that sell medications are those that:
  • Require a prescription from a licensed US healthcare provider
  • Are a licensed pharmacy in good standing in the US
  • Have a licensed pharmacist available to answer your questions
  • Sell only drugs that are FDA-approved
  • Have clear policies to protect your privacy
Websites that sell medications online without a prescription are not reputable. This includes sites that ask you to fill out a questionnaire in lieu of a prescription. Such a questionnaire is not a substitute for careful evaluation by your doctor. You can check with the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) to find out if a site meets state and federal requirements. Some sites even display the NABP seal of approval for Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites (VIPPS).

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