Getting medication is super easy in this day and age. The availability means that people who need these pharmaceuticals can get them when they need 24 hours a day, any day of the week. The option to shop online for the prescription drugs you need has made it even easier and much more convenient.

But finding the online pharmacy that’s right for you can be a struggle. You want to ensure that the e-pharmacy you choose is first and foremost a legitimate and trusted site. The possibility that the online pharmacy that you’re dealing with is one that sells counterfeit medication is far too high with the lack of restriction and regulation on the internet. This danger shouldn’t stop you from looking for the right virtual pharmacy, but it should make you more cautious when looking at online pharmacies.

Make Sure the Pharmacy Is Licensed

When an online pharmacy is licensed, it means that the pharmacy is well-known. More importantly, it means that the product that they sell meets safety guidelines and meet all rules and regulations set up by their country’s government. A pharmacy that’s licensed is delivering good-quality drugs. The main point in an e-pharmacy getting a license is so that they can prove their company is reputable, professional, and reliable.

Common Sense Game

Purchasing anything online can be a mind game. Any pharmacy online can say that they’re selling you the real thing when it’s, in fact, a duplicate or product that is defected. There are quite a few tricks that a company can pull to convince you that they’re the real deal.

Three things that you should remember when buying a product: you’re purchasing the drug at your own risk, you should only buy what your doctor has prescribed, and you should check the expiration dates on your drugs when they arrive in the mail.

Purchase on Recommendation

When you’re buying a prescription drug and are planning to do so online, ask your doctor if she or he knows any legitimate websites that you should check out. While a recommendation from a friend could also lead to legitimate business, you can rest assured that your doctor wouldn’t send you to a website that could do you harm. An e-pharmacy that has your doctor’s approval will not only have the drug you need but will have the best quality.

The Proof of Prescription

Purchasing medication online can be very risky. If an online pharmacy is offering the prescription drug you’re looking for without a prescription, then don’t buy the drug. If a site asks for proof that you should be purchasing the medication, then make sure the questions make sense for the situation. Basically, they should only be asking you for information about your medical history and health. If they’re asking you about more personal information than seems necessary, then they might be trying to steal your information.

Other Warning Signs That You’re Buying from an Illegal Pharmacy

  • Super bargains. If the price of a product seems too good to be true, then it probably is. An extremely low price is an indicator that something is not quite right. While an online pharmacy can offer a lower price for the medication you’re looking for, the price shouldn’t be too much cheaper than what you would pay at a traditional pharmacy.
  • It doesn’t have a VIPPS seal. When you go to a virtual pharmacy, it should have a seal that says VIPPS. VIPPS means that the site is a part of the “Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites.”
  • It doesn’t have a “.pharmacy” in its web address. A website that doesn’t have this isn’t necessarily bogus, but ones that do have it are 100 percent legitimate. Only sites that follow the laws can use “.pharmacy” in their web domain name.
  • It doesn’t have any medical professionals on their staff. You should be able to talk a qualified pharmacist on the phone or by email. If you see a number to reach them, then call them to see if they’re legitimate and to ask them any questions you may have, even small ones. If you do find an online pharmacy you like, try to purchase all your prescriptions there, so you can build a relationship with the pharmacist. It’ll be easier to spot problems that way and give you a better idea of what medications you can take together.
  • They don’t ask for a prescription. If the pharmacy you buy from doesn’t want or need the written prescription of your doctor, then you could accidentally, or intentionally, get the wrong medicine.
  • They ask for unnecessary personal information. No pharmacy should ask for your personal account number or anything beyond the realm of the condition relating to your prescription.
  • They don’t have a privacy policy. You should easily be able to find a virtual pharmacy’s security and privacy settings. Their policies should not only be easy to spot, but also easy to understand. Complicated jargon or just plain absence of a policy is an indicator that they’re not protecting your personal information.

The online pharmacy you choose should have quality delivery practices for their products. They should ideally have well-known brands available for purchase for pharmaceutical drugs. If you have doubts about a company, get in contact with them. They should be able to answer your questions and provide you with information that proves they’re trustworthy. If they can’t do these simple things, then do not buy from them. Always remember that while a deal may seem like the most important thing, your health is more important.

Online shopping is a useful tool to buy many products from appliances to medication and much more as technology improves every day. While it’s easy to trust any site that offers what you think you need, you need to be careful and do your homework on the websites you shop with. If you’re careful and know the red flags of an illegitimate company, then you should find a trustworthy online pharmacy in no time.

About Adam FoxDr Adam Fox is one of only a handful of UK doctors with recognised higher specialist training in Paediatric Allergy. He is a consultant and joint clinical lead at Guy's & St Thomas' Hospitals – the UK's largest specialist children's allergy centre. He has extensive experience in the management of food allergy, eczema, asthma, rhinitis (hayfever) and conjunctivitis as well as drug and insect sting allergy.

He also runs the largest allergen desensitisation programme in the UK and is actively involved in cutting edge research in desensitisation, asthma prevention and food allergy. Adam was included in The Times magazine list of Britain’s 100 Top Children’s Doctors (2012) and is listed in Tatler’s 2013 Guide as one of the UK’s Top 250 Specialists. He was awarded 'Paediatric Allergist of the Year' (2007) by Allergy UK. He is secretary of the British Society of Allergy & Clinical Immunology and lectures widely nationally and internationally.
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