Around 119 million Americans are on prescription medication nowadays.
And increasing numbers of them have started buying prescription drugs online rather than in-store. In all honesty, we don’t blame them!
After all, medication isn’t cheap and online pharmacies have a reputation for being more cost-effective. They also offer the convenience of internet shopping, which is a lifeline for people who struggle to leave the house.
Unfortunately, buying products online carries a risk as well. Unable to see and touch the item(s) prior to purchase, there’s always the possibility of being sold a dud.
This can have serious repercussions in a medical context. Fraudulent online pharmacies prey on the vulnerable, stealing details and/or delivering defective medication.
Buying prescription meds online requires a level of diligence to do it safely. Want to learn more?
Read on for 7 tips for safe-practice when buying medication online.
1. Only Buy from Licensed Sites
The best way to stay safe is to stick with licensed online pharmacies.
Look for the Verified Internet Pharmacy Practices Site (VIPPS for short) seal. It’s red and blue and been provided by the NABP.
Steer clear of unlicensed operators and you’re unlikely to experience any trouble.
You might not get the mega-discounted prices for which you were looking. You will, however, receive safe and authentic medication through to your door.
2. Look For a Pharmacist
Another advantage of buying medication online is the instant access to pharmacists that some sites provide.
You can start an online chat with an actual pharmacist at all times of the day. They can answer your questions, solve your problems, provide further pharmaceutical information, and settle your nerves.
It’s also a good sign that the website is authentic.
There are never any guarantees, of course, but scam sites are less likely to offer such a service. More than anything, they may lack the knowledge to come across as legitimate.
Again, though, don’t make assumptions. Pay close attention to the advice from the ‘pharmacist’ to refill your perception and see if it sounds authentic. Steer well clear if their counsel raises any eyebrows.
3. Analyze the Website
The actual website of online pharmacies can reveal if they’re fraudulent or not.
Now, we’re told from a young age not to judge a book by its cover. However, it can pay to ignore that advice when buying your medication on the internet.
Be wary of anything that seems suspicious. An odd layout, spelling or grammatical mistakes in the copy or anything else that seems unprofessional can be a giveaway.
Another tip is to look for their contact details. Find the phone number and address and dive into Google to verify them. Check that the registered details match the records on business directories; check on Google maps to see where they’re situated.
Avoid making a payment if anything at all doesn’t add up.
4. Check the Meds Themselves
Don’t stop at the research phase of your purchase.
Continue to be diligent even after the medication has been delivered to your door. Take a deep and critical look at the drugs that arrived.
If you’ve been taking the medication for a while, you’ll know what it looks like! Compare what arrived with what you’re used to getting from the ordinary pharmacy.
Any disparity between the packaging and the medication itself can be a clear sign of trouble.
Inspect the size, color, texture, smell, and so on. Check the bottle/packet for any oddities that stand out too. Faded labels and tamper marks are all obvious signs you’ve been sold a dud.
Never take anything you’re not 100% sure about.
5. No Prescription, No Sale
Fraudulent online pharmacies only want your money.
They don’t care at all about you or your medical needs. You could become seriously ill from what they sell and they wouldn’t bat an eyelid.
In their bid to attract customers, these sites try to make it as easy as possible to get hold of the medication.
One common approach is to offer a medication without the need for a prescription. Imagine going to your local pharmacist and getting meds without a prescription. It just wouldn’t happen.
Which means it shouldn’t be possible online either. Don’t fall for the ploy. If you’re offered a no-prescription sale, then click back to Google and look elsewhere.
6. Make Sure It’s Secure
Do you remember when online shopping first hit the scene?
People were terrified of giving out their bank details on the computer. Many believed it wouldn’t catch on for that exact reason.
Fast forward to now and buying things online has become commonplace.
Thanks to secure payment processes you can make purchases without worrying about your details falling into wrong hands. You know they’re stored on secure databases, keeping them safe from harm.
Avoid online pharmacies (and any websites, for that matter) that lack secure payment options. Only ever make a purchase through a verified site where you’re certain your details are being used and stored in line with the law.
7. You’re Better Safe than Sorry
Never sacrifice your health on behalf of money.
It isn’t easy.
The website you’re on might be offering the medication you need at budget prices.
It might be so cheap that you’re willing to ignore the warning signs of the site. You choose, consciously or otherwise, to act against your better judgment; you buy the drugs to save some cash.
But you put your health at risk at the same time.
Try hard to avoid this eventuality. Take a ‘better safe than sorry’ mindset, avoiding purchases from any website you’re unsure about. You could follow every rule on this list and still have doubts. Listen to your gut and avoid the sale.
Be Safe When Buying Prescription Drugs Online
Buying prescription drugs online is more popular than ever before.
Millions of Americans are turning to the internet for its added convenience and possible financial savings. Unfortunately, some unscrupulous individuals are taking advantage of the situation and setting up fraudulent online pharmacies.
Hopefully, this article will help you avoid them.
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Buying Prescription Drugs Online Safely