We live in a day and age where you can buy almost anything online. With so much opportunity at our fingertips, it’s no wonder that there are a myriad of websites set out to take advantage of people.
Online shopping is a massive cultural phenomenon thanks to the convenience and seemingly endless online sales.
While buying cosmetics and clothing online is pretty low-risk, buying medications online is not. Here’s how to shop with caution when buying medication over the internet.
Why Buy Medications Online?
Today it’s not unusual for large drugstore chains and smaller pharmacies to sell their medications online. In fact, it has become common practice across the globe.
But what is the drive behind buying medication over the internet? There are a number of reasons this method has become so popular:
- Convenience — especially for the elderly or immobile who cannot make it into a brick-and-mortar pharmacy
- It saves time
- It can save money due to discounted prices online
- It guarantees privacy
This being said, there are risks involved in buying medications online. This is especially true with illegitimate websites — which are a dime a dozen these days.
The Risks of Buying From Illegitimate Websites
The appeal of buying deeply discounted medications online is undeniable. But it could have dangerous consequences.
According to research, roughly 95% of online pharmacies do not comply with professional standards or pharmacy laws.
Buying medication from an illegitimate website puts you at risk. This includes computer malware, stolen personal information, and counterfeit drugs with deadly side-effects. Rogue online pharmacies tend to follow a pattern of illegal behavior which includes the following:
- Sending out fake prescription drugs that contain no active ingredients
- Sending incorrect medication dosage
- Sending drugs that contain dangerous ingredients
- Sending drugs that are expired
- Their drugs are non-compliant with professional standards
- Their drugs are incorrectly stored, labeled and shipped
So with all of this in mind, who can you really trust online?
Safely Buying Medications Online
First thing’s first, it is beneficial to look for a licensed retail pharmacy that has chosen to sell their medications online.
It is also a good idea to see if the website you shop from should is licensed with the Canadian International Pharmacy Association (CIPA). These online pharmacies are regulated by the Canadian government for safety and can help bring extra peace of mind when ordering online.
If you’re shopping for medication in the United States, you can check if the online pharmacy is licensed by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) and the Center for Safe Internet Pharmacies. The NABP verifies online pharmacies throughout the United States and most Canadian provinces, too.
You can check the NABP website which regularly publishes lists of accredited online pharmacies and suspicious websites. Here are a few other important things to look for:
1. Look For a .pharmacy Domain
Some online pharmacies will display the NABP Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites™ Seal. But another important indication to look for is ”.pharmacy” in the website address. This can be an additional point to add legitimacy to an online pharmacy.
However, some commercial pharmacies may have website addresses that end in .com. This doesn’t mean they are illegitimate. If they are established online pharmacies with a good longstanding reputation, you can still be safe shopping from a website ending in .com.
Basically, this detail indicates that the company adheres to standards developed by a global coalition. The suffix and seal indicate that online pharmacy meets all state licensing requirements.
2. Don’t Fall For Super Bargain Prices
A good rule-of-thumb when it comes to the prices of online medications is this: if it’s too-good-to-be-true, it generally is.
Be wary of any online pharmacy that displays extremely low prices for medication that is never usually priced that low. If you’re in doubt about the price of a medication, do some research on what it usually costs in a regular pharmacy.
If the price seems unusual in comparison, it’s best to avoid that particular online pharmacy.
3. Look For the VIPPS Seal
Legitimate, US-based online pharmacies will always display the VIPPS seal. This seal of approval stands for the Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites.
In short, if the website displays this seal, it means it has been screened and approved by the NABP. It is important to note that VIPPS is only applicable to US-based pharmacies, and does not apply to Canadian based pharmacies.
4. The Website Should Always Offer a Pharmacist to Talk To
Another crucial consideration to keep in mind is whether the online pharmacy offers the expertise of a qualified pharmacist. Ideally, you should be able to converse with them directly — whether it’s over the phone, by email, or direct message.
Look for a contact number on the website. It will usually be a 1-800 number which you can call and directly speak to the pharmacist on hand.
5. You Should Always Be Asked for a Prescription
It goes without saying that you should never be able to request medication without a doctor’s prescription. If you aren’t asked for one, this is an immediate red flag.
If you are supplied with medication without a prescription, there’s no guarantee it is legitimate or even safe to consume.
6. All Legitimate Websites Will List Their Privacy Settings
A verified online pharmacy will make it a top priority to openly list their privacy and security settings on their website. These privacy settings should be easy to locate and understand.
Basically, the website should not sell or display your private information to anyone else, unless you have signed an agreement.
7. Be Careful When Sharing Personal Information
If you have your doubts about the legitimacy of a website, don’t openly share your personal information.
Keep information such as your social security number, credit card details, and medical history private. This is how identity theft and fraud happens.
Shop For Your Medications With Safety and Ease
Buying medications online with the Canadian Drugstore guarantees a safe and convenient shopping experience.
Whether you’re looking for new prescriptions or refills, our website helps you to find everything you need, at affordable prices. Browse our medications here!