The internet has made many things possible: we can now order our favorite foods, see the latest movies, shop for groceries, buy new clothes, and more in the comfort of our home.
But, what about medications?
With online pharmacies, you can now also get OTC medicines without leaving your home. You can even refill your prescription drugs online over the internet. However, businesses, consumers, and government bodies are still conflicted about them.
Why? Keep on reading to learn what is a no prescription online pharmacy and what steps you need to take to stay safe.
What Are Online Pharmacies
An online pharmacy is a vendor selling medications and operating through the internet. It allows customers to place an order on a website. After which, it ships the medications by mail or shipping companies.
This makes for a convenient way to get one’s medications, especially for the elderly and physically disabled. However, online pharmacies don’t have the same regulations as their physical counterparts.
With brick-and-mortar pharmacies, the process of filling out prescriptions has tight controls. Although there are some regulations in place for online pharmacies, you still can’t be too sure. You’ll have to do your homework first if you want to ensure you’re buying from the best online pharmacies.
When you search, “where can I buy Actifed?” for example, scrutinize each website that comes up in the search results. Look for the things below to ensure their legitimacy.
Look for Sites With Affiliations
Some physical pharmacies also have websites where you can place orders. They allow you to buy medicines online and then have your orders shipped to you or the branch nearest to you.
This is a better choice for ensuring the legitimacy of a site. Check if your trusted pharmacy has an online ordering system, as well.
Look for a Seal of Approval
An easy way to ensure the legitimacy of an online pharmacy is to look for a seal of approval. To be specific, we’re looking for one issued by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacies.
The seal, called Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites (VIPPS), signifies that the online pharmacy has a valid license. It also means they pass NABP’s scrutiny.
To further verify the seal, you can also head to NABP’s website. They have a list of online pharmacies with VIPPS accreditation. The bonus is that they also have a list of sites to avoid.
However, note that VIPPS isn’t a requirement. If an online pharmacy doesn’t have this seal, it doesn’t automatically mean that it’s not legit. They can still have a license.
Still, they should display that license on their website. You can then verify it with your state’s board of pharmacies. NABP, again, has a list of contact information for each state.
Verify the License
The doctors should have a license to operate in your state. Remember that it’s illegal for anyone – even doctors – to prescribe medications in a state they’re not licensed in.
The pharmacist you’ll be talking to must have a license, as well. Verify their registration to ensure they’re qualified to answer your questions about medicines.
Look for the Contact Information
Should you encounter any problem with your order, you’ll have to talk to someone about it. That’s why you should first check if the online pharmacy has valid contact details before you order.
They must also have an office address you can go to. These details must be present on their website.
Check the Packaging
When your order arrives in the mail, check the packaging. It must be secure; if it looks flimsy, then don’t trust the medications inside.
Then, check the accompanying materials, as well. Every order must come with instructions on how to properly take the medicines. The lack of such information should be a red flag.
Stay Away From Rogue Sites
Rogue sites are what we call unlicensed websites. There are plenty of these on the internet, which is why you should practice due diligence when buying medications online. Below are some of the dangers of buying from shady sites:
When you order from unlicensed websites, you have no way of knowing whether you received real medications or not. For all you know, you might have received counterfeit medicines. These can be useless at best and dangerous at worst.
They can also send you expired ones, which you might not be able to confirm.
Your information isn’t also safe with these shady online pharmacies. You’ll be giving them your name, health information, and address.
That means shady people have access to a bunch of your personal information. They can do anything with it, including sell it or release it.
Websites that don’t pass the packaging standards might result in damaged or ineffective medicines. Even if they sent real medications, you won’t be sure these are still safe to take. If the packaging is in bad shape, then the contents might be now compromised.
Medicines are sensitive to temperature, and they go through a lot when shipped. With improper packaging, chemical reactions might get triggered. They might also get wet or exposed to pollutants.
There’s also the risk of improper storage. The rogue site might be storing the medications without the right temperature controls. As we said above, this can render the drugs useless.
A no prescription online pharmacy usually asks you to fill up a questionnaire or form. This gets sent to their doctor and approves the medications for shipping.
While this is convenient, it might get dangerous for the patient. Wrong information might lead to the approval of a drug that interacts badly with the other medications that the patient takes.
Doctors in online pharmacies only have the form filled out by the patient to make decisions. They don’t have access to the full medical history. As such, they won’t know if a patient has a certain condition that might not be suitable for the medicine.
Buy Only from a Reputable No Prescription Online Pharmacy
The allure of ordering medications over the internet is strong, especially when you encounter a no prescription online pharmacy. However, make sure to follow all our tips above to stay safe and find the best online pharmacy.
Medications can be dangerous if you don’t take them the right way. For more information, keep tabs on our blog!