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How Online Pharmacies Work: What You Need to Know

The COVID-19 pandemic has left a lot of people scared to leave their homes, even for essentials. That includes food, groceries, and even important pharmaceuticals.

Thankfully, you don’t need to leave your house to get your medicine anymore, prescription or not. Online pharmacies allow you to get all the pharmaceuticals you need directly to your door.

If you’ve never used an online pharmacy before, here’s everything you need to know.

What Is an Online Pharmacy?

An online pharmacy is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a drug store that takes place completely from the comfort of your computer screen.

You can use an online pharmacy to buy over-the-counter medication or prescription medication. All you have to do is make an account, set up your address and payment type, and you’re good to go.

An online pharmacy works like any other online retailer.

You’ll see pages of products available, pricing, and quantities. You can also search for the medication you need. You’ll get a description of each product, and a shipping price and total upon checkout.

How Can I Get Prescription Drugs Online?

You can’t just stroll into an online pharmacy and buy prescription drugs without proof.

Each website requires you to prove your prescription before purchasing certain medications. They may require a photograph of the prescription, a fax, or may even need to contact your doctor. The website you visit will explain their process.

Legitimate online pharmacies require these stringent checks in order to stay open. It’s very illegal to deal with prescription drugs online without a prescription. If you find a site that offers prescription drugs without any proof, you should not buy from them under any conditions.

Are Online Pharmacies Safe?

The safety of online pharmacies is a heated topic of debate, especially in Canada.

There are a lot of stores online that offer pharmaceuticals, but they can’t all be trusted. Some may claim to sell you one thing but then deliver something else. Others may try to sell you prescriptions without proof, or ship you products from the US rather than Canada.

If you notice any of these signs when shopping at an online pharmacy, it may be illegitimate:

  • No brick and mortar address provided on the site
  • Not from your country of origin
  • No valid prescription or proof required before purchase
  • Prices seem far too low

According to, 96% of online pharmacies around the world should not be trusted. That means it’s extremely important to verify the site before making a purchase.

Look for confirmation of validity online, or from friends who may have used the site. Look up site reviews, and check for any of the red flags listed above. If you order from an online pharmacy and something isn’t right, contact them.

Consider contacting the proper authorities if things seem too suspicious.

At best, buying from an online pharmacy could leave you with an unsatisfactory product. At worse, your health could be at risk. You could take a phony pharmaceutical and end up needing medical treatment.

Always put your safety first when vetting online pharmacies.

How Do I Know If I Can Trust an Online Pharmacy?

The most trustworthy online pharmacies will look professional and have a lot of hoops to jump through before allowing you to order. They’ll take a lot of information during sign-up, and may even contact your doctor before letting you shop. Many accept insurance plans, have testimonials, and can be easily vetted through Google searches.

A site like The Canadian Drugstore is a great example. They’re praised across the web, and require lots of proof before allowing you to purchase drugs. They even offer free shipping!

Are Online Pharmacies Private?

Some people are turned off by online pharmacies because of how much information you have to give them.

A reputable online pharmacy will keep your data safe and secure at all costs. They won’t share your information with other companies. This is just another reason to seek out safe online pharmacies as opposed to sketchy ones.

On the flip side, online pharmacies may offer you more privacy when it comes to buying your pharmaceuticals. Nobody should feel embarrassed by the medications they need, but some people can’t help it.

Buying from an online pharmacy means you don’t have to go out in public to get what you need. You don’t need to tell anyone what you’re getting, as there are no cashiers or prying eyes. For many, this is a huge plus for shopping online.

Has COVID-19 Had an Effect on Online Pharmacies?

COVID-19 has convinced a lot more people to shop for their pharmaceuticals online.

Social distancing means we can only leave our houses for essentials. Anything you can get online, you’re encouraged to get online. Even physicians are moving online in an effort to keep hospitals from overcrowding.

Considering this, online pharmacies are doing everything they can to keep drugs in stock and shipping in a timely manner. You may experience slower shipping times than usual due to the influx of patients on the sites. You may also notice some items selling out, or becoming temporarily unavailable.

Online pharmacies will not shut down due to the pandemic, though. With a prescription, some sites allow you to have your medication sent our right as it becomes available. That, or you can keep on checking back for restocks.

As the pandemic begins to wind down, online pharmacies will become faster and more well-stocked. Even with longer wait times, though, you should still shop for your pharmaceuticals online. It’s safe, and it’ll help our world get back to normal fast and efficiently.

Never Visit the Pharmacy Again

Once you make the switch to online pharmacies, you’ll never want to step foot in a physical pharmacy again. The unparalleled privacy and convenience is simply too great to ignore. Whatever prescription you need to be refilled, you’re bound to find it at an online pharmacy.

If you’re looking for a reputable online pharmacy, see what The Canadian Drugstore has to offer.

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