About 20 new illegal pharmacies pop up on the internet every day. About 96% of these global online pharmacies fail to adhere to applicable legal requirements. Meanwhile, 92% of the online pharmacies that operate illegally due so in an illicit manner.

Rushing to buy medicine online could put your personal information at risk. In order to ensure you receive the right medications, it helps to know which mistakes many shoppers make.

Here are seven mistakes to avoid when buying medicine online.

By avoiding these mistakes, you can buy medicine safely and ensure it’s the medicine you need. Start shopping by using these tips today!

1. Not Verifying They Ask for Prescriptions

Almost 90% of all pharmacies that operate online don’t ask for a valid prescription. These are among the many online pharmacies that are operating illegally. Before buying medicine online, see if the store asks for a prescription from a doctor.

That’s right: online pharmacies need a prescription from a licensed medical professional the same way normal pharmacies do.

If the pharmacy doesn’t ask for your prescription, how can you guarantee they’re giving you the right medication? They might unintentionally (or even knowingly) give you medicine that contains fillers. You might receive the wrong medicine altogether, which could risk your health.

It’s important to make sure you receive the medication your doctor initially prescribed. Otherwise, the medicine you receive might fail to treat your condition or symptoms.

The wrong medicine could do more harm than good. In fact, there are many medications on the market that haven’t completed testing. These medications don’t have FDA approval.

When looking for reputable online stores, make sure they ask for your prescription from a licensed medical professional. If they don’t, keep searching for another pharmacy.

2. Not Checking for Credentials

One of the most common mistakes people make when buying medicine online is failing to look for reputable online stores. How can you tell an online pharmacy is reputable? Take the time to look for their credentials.

First, check the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP). Are they licensed and registered to practice in their area? If not, keep searching.

Any online store should provide information about their credentials. If you can’t find their license and registration information, look for their contact information. Feel free to ask if they can provide credentials.

You can also look for the Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites (VIPPS) seal. If you see this seal on an online pharmacy’s website, they’ve met their licensure requirements. They’ve likely also met over NABP requirements to operate online legally.

If a website has the VIPPS seal, the NABP screened them personally. To receive this seal, a pharmacy has to fulfill specific licensing criteria. A certification team will also visit the company to make sure everything is in order.

Only then will they receive this VIPPS certification.

Knowing how to find reputable online stores can help you buy medicine safely online.

3. Failing to Read Reviews

Before buying medicine online from a pharmacy for the first time, check their reviews. You can look for customer reviews on the pharmacy’s Google My Business listing. If you’re purchasing supplements, consider looking at Supplement Reviews as well.

Checking multiple websites will help you get a better idea about the pharmacy.

The pharmacy might also post reviews on their website. However, these reviews are usually cherry-picked. Instead, try to find reviews from third-party websites where the online pharmacy doesn’t have control.

Does the company have any complaints filed against them? If there are one or two negative reviews, that’s not a major red flag. A lot of bad reviews, on the other hand, could indicate the company isn’t trustworthy.

Reading online customer reviews will help you learn from consumers who are in your shoes. You can determine if they had a positive or negative shopping experience to learn from their mistakes. Reading these online reviews can help you avoid a scam.

At the same time, you’ll have peace of mind about the online store you choose.

4. Not Prioritizing Reputable Stores

Before buying medicine online, make sure the reputable online stores you use have secure websites. You don’t want to hand your credit card and contact information to a website that is insecure.

Look for a lock in front of the website’s domain name. You can tell a website is secure if they have an SSL certificate. Look for HTTPS at the start of the URL.

If you’re in a rush to buy your medication, you might not check to confirm the site is secure. Many people make the mistake of trusting websites that don’t have the proper security features. As a result, a hacker might steal your credit card information based on your purchase.

They can then use your credit card to make fraudulent purchases online.

When buying medicine online, it’s also important to use a credit card instead of a debit card. When someone uses your debit card, they have access to your own money. When someone tries to use your credit card, however, you can put a hold on your account.

You might have a difficult time getting your money back if someone steals your debit card information.

5. Trusting Bargain Sites

Many online shoppers also make the mistake of trusting bargain sites.

Trust your gut. Does a deal seem too good to be true? Usually, it is.

Instead of buying medicine based on low prices, look for reputable online stores. Take the time to shop around, too. Compare prices to determine the proper cost for the medications you need.

6. Not Looking for a Pharmacist

A legitimate online pharmacy will let you speak with a pharmacist by phone or email. If they don’t have a pharmacist you can speak with, keep searching.

Speaking with a pharmacist can help you avoid potential drug interactions or prescription mistakes.

7. Forgetting to Check the List

When buying online, make sure to check this list before you complete your purchase.

This list contains Not Recommended Websites—websites that fail to comply with best practices. These websites won’t ask for your prescription and might dispense medication that wasn’t approved.

The NABP created this list to help you buy medications safely!

Shop Safely: 7 Mistakes to Avoid When Buying Medicine Online

Ready to start shopping? Make sure to avoid these seven mistakes when buying medicine online. Dodging these mistakes can help you purchase the medicines you need from stores you can trust.

Find the prescription drugs you need! Use our Prescription Drug Search today to start searching!

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