Purchasing medications from an online pharmacy is a legal and usually safe practice. However, not all online pharmacies follow legal or ethical guidelines. Working with an unreliable or illegitimate online pharmacy can result in being scammed or receiving an unsafe product. In this article we answer the question what is an online pharmacy and discuss what to look for in an online pharmacy.
What Is An Online Pharmacy?
An online pharmacy is a pharmacy that operates over the internet, sending orders to customers through mail, shipping companies, or online pharmacy web portals. Online pharmacies can serve as an easy, private, and affordable way to purchase subscriptions.
What To Look For In An Online Pharmacy
According to industry experts and doctors, there are roughly 30,000 active online pharmacies in the United States. Some are more reliable than others. The following tips can help you locate a safe, reliable, and efficient online pharmacy.
1. Check To See If Your Healthcare Plan Offers Coverage
If your healthcare provider offers prescription coverage, ask your insurer for a list of reliable and approved online pharmacies. Most healthcare companies assess pharmacies before they allow customers to buy from them. If your healthcare provider does not offer coverage for a certain pharmacy, it does not always mean the pharmacy is illegitimate.
2. Watch Out For Unusually High Prices
Most pharmacies carry the same products and medications. If you are paying for your prescriptions, you may have shopped around to find cheaper prices. While low prices can simply be a sign of a good deal, unusually high prices are something to watch out for.
3. Make Sure the Pharmacy Has a Physical Address
Reliable online pharmacies always have verifiable physical addresses and phone numbers. They are also licensed in the states in which they operate and do business. The Food and Drug Administration website has a database for licensed online pharmacies, so you can verify the reliability of a pharmacy you are looking at.
4. Find Out How Much You Will Pay
As is the case with any purchase, you want to compare prices and options to find the best deal available. Prices of prescriptions and drugs may vary depending on a variety of factors. There are also useful internet tools and websites such as PharmacyChecker.com that can help you compare prices between pharmacies.
Signs of a Fake Online Pharmacy
Fake online pharmacies are an emerging and dangerous public health threat. They often lack the adequate support to protect personal and financial information, and can sometimes maliciously use customer information. Watch out for the following identifications that may alert you to an unreliable online pharmacy.
1. They Have Unusually High or Unusually Low Prices
While prices differ among online pharmacies, prices are usually pretty similar for the same drug. What at first seems like an amazing deal may be fraudulent. Before purchasing a prescription, take a look at similar pharmacies and compare prices. An egregiously high or low price may indicate that you will not receive the exact product you are looking for.
2. They Allow You To Buy Drugs Without a Doctor’s Prescription
It is a major red flag if an online pharmacy allows you to call or write in a prescription for yourself. You don’t have to visit a doctor’s office necessarily, but all safe and reliable pharmacies require the consultation and approval of a licensed doctor.
3. They Ship Both Nationwide And Worldwide
Many reliable pharmacies such as Manifest Pharmacy only ship drugs nationwide. While worldwide shipping does not always mean a pharmacy is illegitimate, it does come with many more guidelines and restrictions. A pharmacy offering worldwide shipping could be a sign it is a fraud.
4. They Offer Unapproved Medications
Selling drugs to consumers requires the completion of a lengthy process that includes multiple forms, licenses, and approval.
What to Look For In An Online Pharmacy Summary
An online pharmacy is a pharmacy that operates over the internet and sends orders to customers via mail, shipping companies, or web portals. There are roughly 30,000 online pharmacies in the United States, but many of them are unreliable.
Customers should watch out for unusual prices, unsolicited spam emails, and the option to purchase drugs without a referral from a doctor. These may be signs of an unreliable online pharmacy.