7 Factors to Consider When Choosing Online Pharmacies

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About 3.4 million consumers choose to order medication online, from companies outside the US, to save money. It’s important that you don’t start buying medicine online from the first site you find, though. Instead, you need to vet your options.

Learning more about each company can help you avoid a potential scam. Otherwise, you could purchase medication or supplements full of harmful fillers.

Here are seven tips for choosing online pharmacies.

With these tips, you can avoid a potential scam. Instead, you can make sure to find a company you can trust.

Buying medicine online can help you save time and money. It can also add convenience to your life. Start buying medicine online from reputable pharmacies with these tips today. 

1. Know How to Spot an Illegitimate Company

Before you start buying medicine online, it’s important you learn how to spot a rogue pharmacy. Learning how to spot an illegitimate company online can help you avoid a scam. Otherwise, you might unintentionally put your health (and money) at risk.

Illegitimate companies are out to steal your money. Others can hack you through an insecure website. They could steal your private information.

You could fall victim to credit card fraud.

Some pharmacies send people counterfeit medications. Taking these medications could impact your health. Meanwhile, you won’t receive the medication you actually need.

In some cases, you might unintentionally purchase medications that aren’t legally approved.

The FDA regulates prescription medications within the US. However, they can’t vet imported products. If you plan on purchasing medication from outside the US, make sure to choose a reliable pharmacy.

Don’t put your well-being at risk. It happens more often than you think. In fact, about 96% of online pharmacies don’t comply with laws and safety standards. 

Before choosing online pharmacies, keep an eye out for these red flags:

  • They don’t ask for a valid prescription from a doctor
  • The brand sends unsolicited emails offering cheap medications and deals
  • The company doesn’t have a licensed pharmacist you can call
  • They offer super-low prices

Using the rest of these tips can help you avoid a potential scam.

2. Consult Your Insurance Plan

Consider consulting your health insurance plan before buying medicine online.

Your health insurance company might have a list of online pharmacies they’ve vetted and approved. You can use this list to streamline your search.

Your insurer likely vetted the company before choosing them as a supplier. Selecting online pharmacies from their list can give you peace of mind. 

It’s okay if the pharmacy you’re considering doesn’t appear on the list. It’s impossible for your insurer to vet every online pharmacy. If the pharmacy doesn’t appear on the list, it only means they don’t work with your insurer.

3. They Should Ask for a Prescription

If you plan on purchasing prescription medication online, make sure the pharmacy asks for a doctor’s prescription.

Otherwise, how can the pharmacy send you the exact medication you need at the right dose? They could make a mistake when filling out your prescription. You might receive the wrong medication as well.

Taking the wrong medication could have a negative impact on your health. Meanwhile, you’ll fail to receive the medication you need.

If you’re using medicine to treat a severe medical condition, it’s important to make sure you receive the right one.

If the pharmacy doesn’t ask for a doctor’s prescription, look elsewhere. In fact, about 90% of online pharmacies don’t ask for one! You could come across an illegitimate pharmacy if you skip this step. 

4. Consider Their Pricing

Everyone wants to find the best deal when shopping online. However, unusual discounts sometimes indicate an illegitimate pharmacy. When choosing online pharmacies, look at the pricing across a few different sites.

Comparing supplement costs can help you determine the average.

If one price seems too good to be true, it probably is. Trust your gut. Don’t purchase the cheapest supplement or medication.

Instead, vet your options and make sure you’re choosing a legit pharmacy.

5. Look for an Address

Take the time to review the company’s website. Does the pharmacy list a physical address? If they only list a P.O. box, look for another pharmacy.

The pharmacy should have a physical street address.

Review the rest of their website as well. Look for the Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites (VIPPS®) Seal. The seal will indicate the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) vetted the company.

Only companies that meet licensure requirements can receive the seal. 

6. Make Sure They Were Screened

You can trust other resources to find a reputable online pharmacy, too.

For example, you can look for online customer reviews. Customer reviews can help you learn from people who were once in your shoes.

Try to read reviews from a few different resources. Did anyone get sick buying medication online from a specific pharmacy? Do you see a ton of negative reviews from the same business?

You’ll know that’s one pharmacy you’ll need to avoid.

You can also trust the NABP for help. They vet pharmacies by considering:

  • How they communicate with customers
  • How (and if) they protect their customer’s private information
  • The company’s methods for filling prescriptions

Choosing a pharmacy that was already vetted by the NABP can give you peace of mind. 

7. Check the PharmacyChecker

You can also do your due diligence by consulting PharmacyChecker. 

PharmacyChecker can verify foreign and US stores are licensed and legit. Pharmacies vetted through PharmacyChecker have a licensed physician who requires a valid prescription.

This website can also help you with comparing supplement costs. Don’t forget to check for their online customer reviews, too. 

Start Your Search: 7 Tips for Choosing Online Pharmacies You Can Trust

Don’t start buying medicine online from the first pharmacy you find. Instead, use these tips for choosing online pharmacies. Vetting your options will give you peace of mind.

You can find a pharmacy that has your best interests in mind, not their bottom line.

Searching for an international pharmacy you can trust? Our team is here to help.

Request a consultation with a licensed online doctor to get started.

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