Considerations to Make When Purchasing from an Online Pharmacy
There are several online pharmacies that operate legally, offering privacy, convenience and safeguards for shoppers. However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns that there are plenty of rogue ones too, where unapproved or fake medicines are being sold outside the safety net of of licensed drugstores.
Such illegal pharmacies usually display a Canadian flag even if they are operated from a completely different part of the globe and in no way connected to Canada. Obviously, medicines offered by these websites can pose serious health risks.
Signs of a Questionable Online Pharmacy
First and foremost, be wary of online pharmacies that will sell you prescription medicines without a valid prescription from your doctor, or those that do not have a resident U.S. state-licensed pharmacist to answer questions from customers. Suspicious online pharmacies also sell at ridiculously low prices and have the habit of sending spam emails offering cheap drugs. Furthermore, they are generally outside the U.S. and will ship overseas.
Signs of a Safe Online Pharmacy
On the other hand, there are a few ways to identify a licensed online pharmacy. For instance, if they ask you for a valid prescription from your physician and have a license from your state board of pharmacy, they are probably be legit. It’s easy to know the licensing status of a pharmacy – just visit the website of your state board of pharmacy. , then they may be a safe bet.
On their website, you should also find the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy’s (NABP) Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice SitesTM Seal, also referred to as the VIPPS? Seal. This seal means that they have met state licensure requirements and other NABP criteria and are thus safe to use.
Risks of Ordering from Illegal Online Pharmacies
Questionable pharmacies offer drugs that can be risky as they can have too much or too little of the active ingredient that is supposed to treat your disease or condition. Or they may not contain that active ingredient at all and even come with other potentially harmful ingredients. Of course, you want that active ingredient because it’s what makes the medicine work for whatever it is you’re taking it for.
If a drug has obscure active ingredients, it may not work the way you want it to and can even bring unexpected and possibly harmful interactions with other drugs you could be taking.
Finally, the drugs may not be stored under ideal conditions, such as at a warehouse where the stocks are not well-organized and exposed to unmanaged temperatures. This will not just diminish the potency of the drugs, but it can also cause chemical changes that can make them a health hazard.