One could not fail to notice that there has recently been a boom in internet pharmacy businesses. Surely it’s difficult to ignore the large numbers of emails flooding your spam box about advertisements offering the cheapest medicines online, overnight shipment, and prescription drugs without the need for prescription. But is it secure to buy drugs online or not?
Let’s face it, we live in a world where everything can be done with just a click of a button, and anybody can set up a website and pass it off as a valid business to obtain personal and financial information to use in fraudulent activities. And without proper know-how, it would be difficult to distinguish a legitimate from an illegitimate business. Here are some helpful hints on how to tell between the two.
However tempting the offer is, a drugstore that sells prescription drugs without asking for a prescription already sounds shady, not mention downright illegal. The first thing you need to check with any online pharmacy is if they require a valid prescription from your current primary care physician before they can dispense any medication. This is important because the prescription acts as a confirmation from your doctor or other health care provider. This also tells the internet drugstore that you’ve undergone due physical assessment, and that you’ve been prescribed the proper medication for the result of the assessment. An adequate diagnosis of your medication needs requires more than just filling out a medical questionnaire or providing them your credit card number.
No consumer can rest easy if the store they bought their merchandise from is illegal. This is why it is important to verify that the online drugstore you’re planning to buy from is a licensed pharmacy in the state you live in, or if it is licensed to dispense drugs to people who live in your state. Online pharmacies should not differ much from local pharmacies in terms of the quality of their service.
The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) is the organization responsible for developing, implementing, and enforcing a set of consistent standards for pharmacies in different states. The NABP is composed of pharmacy boards from fifty U.S. states, the District of Columbia, three U.S. territories, nine Canadian provinces, and four Australian states. The NABP is also the group responsible for created the voluntary certification program for online pharmacies called the Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites (VIPPS) to cover concerns regarding internet pharmacies. This program requires online pharmacies to meet the requirements set by the state from which their operations are based, and of the states to which they deliver medications to.
To ensure your safety against fraudulent online pharmacies, it is best to always keep these tips in mind:
l Buying any kind of medication from illegal sites puts you in great risk of receiving counterfeit or expired products, an incorrect dose, or no product at all.
l Taking medications not prescribed to you may produce dangerous drug interactions and create serious medical complications.
l Make sure that the online drugstore offers access to a registered pharmacist for any questions regarding the medications sold on the website.
l Beware of websites that offer and sell medications that claim to be quick cures or cure-all.
l As much as possible, avoid purchasing any prescription or over-the-counter medications from foreign websites.
l Check the NABP list if a pharmacy is included and is currently in good standing.
l Never give out any personal or financial information unless you’ve verified that the internet pharmacy is accredited by the NABP as a VIPPS.