The internet has revolutionized the way we communicate, source for information, get foods, and even medicines. Two decades ago, getting your medication from an online pharmacy may have been considered insane. However, we are in 2019, and online pharmacies are becoming more popular than ever.
For individuals who feel uncomfortable talking to a doctor, having a physical examination, or have pharmacies located far away from their homes, an online pharmacy can be a lifesaver. And yes, some offer discounts of up to 90 percent.
An online pharmacy offers you a stress-free, efficient, convenient and private way to buy drugs (both prescription and over-the-counter medications). With this trend set up to grow further in 2019, it is crucial that you get all the information you need about online pharmacies.
Are Online Pharmacies Legal?
Depending on your location, online pharmacies can be legal. If you are in the United States, it is legal to buy your drugs through an online pharmacy and have it delivered to your home. If you reside in the U.K, it is also legal to buy your drugs via an NHS-registered online pharmacy.
This also applies to many other countries of the world. So if you are looking to buy drugs through an online pharmacy, we recommend that you check with a department that registers pharmacies or one that controls the administration of drugs in your country.
Can I Get Prescription Drugs from Online Pharmacies?
It is both legal and possible to buy your prescriptions from online pharmacies. Depending on how things work in your country, you would be required to have a real prescription from a doctor to five to the online pharmacy. This is to ensure that you have a relationship with a doctor who provided the prescription.
In the U.K. and some other countries, you may need to fill out a form or have a checkup done online before you can get a prescription drug. Drugs that you would naturally get over the counter are much easier to purchase from online pharmacies. The procedure may, however, be unique to your country or state.
Some online pharmacies work with telemedicine doctors (these are doctors who use telecommunication to run diagnostics on patients) who do the prescription of drugs. The rise of telemedicine doctors is an added advantage to the transparency of online pharmacies.
How are the Drugs Delivered?
A good number of online pharmacies get drugs delivered through mail orders which are operated either via your insurer’s pharmacy benefit manager, or private mailbox. It is essential to use a mail order service that has an agreement with your insurer’s PBM to get the coverage from your health plan.
Using the website of the online pharmacy, you can sign up for mail order by sending in your insurer’s mail order form with your prescription, or having your doctor phone or fax it in. Delivery via this method can take up to two weeks, but in some cases, days.
While some online pharmacies offer delivery on the same day through their registered courier service, most may take days to arrive. If you are out of medication and are looking to get it immediately, getting from a physical pharmacy may still be your best bet.
How to Identify Registered Online Pharmacies
As more people turn to online pharmacies, it is becoming increasingly dangerous to order for drugs online because of the fake doctors, fraudsters, and scammers who sell fake or counterfeit drugs online.
It is essential that you know that there are also fake online pharmacies which sell counterfeit drugs, sell unapproved drugs, sell drugs without a prescription, and may not protect the information you provided in confidence. So, how do you know if an online pharmacy has been registered to dispense drugs?
Check for Professional Regulations
This is one of the safest ways to ensure that an online pharmacy is registered. These regulatory bodies are saddled with the responsibility of ensuring professional practice their jobs safely; this also applies to pharmacies available online.
If there are online pharmacies in your country, then there would be a regulatory body controlling them. These regulatory bodies have websites where the names of registered online pharmacies can be checked, along with a blacklist for fake online pharmacies.
These regulatory bodies have a list of requirements a pharmacy must meet before they can sell drugs online. Before you buy from an online pharmacy, check if it has an approval from your local professional regulatory agency.
How are Prescription Drugs Administered?
If an online pharmacy administers a drug that you would normally get with a prescription without a checkup from a telemedicine doctor, that is a warning that you should not buy there. Online pharmacies are required to have telemedicine doctors perform proper diagnosis (either via video calls or voice calls).
If this facility is not available, make sure that the pharmacy requires a prescription for a doctor before administering a drug to you. Run from online pharmacies that sell drugs to you for the first time without requiring any form of registration. This is one safe way to ensure that the online pharmacy is legitimate.
Check Online for History
The internet never forgets, nor does it forgives. If there has been a case against an online pharmacy, there is a great chance you would see it online. If you are buying from an online pharmacy for the first time, do your homework well, check online for recommendations, complaints, or warnings.
Check for a Physical Address
A physical address of the online pharmacy should also be on your priority list when buying drugs online. Check for the street address of the online pharmacy which you can check using google maps to find out if there is a pharmacy located there. If there is only a P.O. box address, avoid it, even though there is a possibility of it being legit.
Should You Buy Drugs from an Online Pharmacy?
By all means, buy from an online pharmacy; only when you have confirmed that it has been registered by the appropriate professional regulatory body in your country to sell drugs.