It’s no secret that America has a medical problem. It’s not a disease or a disorder that is unique to Americans. It’s not an issue with medical malpractice or an influx of poorly trained medical professionals.
America’s medical problem comes down to cost. Difficulty accessing insurance and skyrocketing drug prices are leading tens of millions of US patients to consider buying medication online.
If you’ve ever considered buying medication online, you’ve probably come across alarming headlines about online pharmacies that are selling dangerous or ineffective drugs. Does that mean that all online pharmacies are dangerous?
Fortunately, the answer is no. There are plenty of ways to access affordable, safe medication online. Read on for our guide to selecting an online pharmacy that you can trust.
What Is an Online Pharmacy?
An online pharmacy is exactly what it sounds like. Rather than heading to your local brick-and-mortar pharmacy where you’ll find racks of medications behind a counter manned by pharmacists and their assistants, an online pharmacy lets you fill your prescription from home.
Just like a regular pharmacy, an online pharmacy may offer brand-name medications, but they are more likely to offer generic drugs. When you buy generic drugs, you tend to save quite a bit of money to achieve the same results.
Why Is Buying Medication Online Growing in Popularity?
For one thing, online pharmacies offer a convenience level that brick-and-mortar pharmacies can’t meet. They save you time and energy by allowing you to fill your prescriptions quickly from the comfort of home. Once your prescription is filled, it’s just a matter of a few days before they arrive by mail at your door.
Perhaps the biggest draw of online pharmacies, however, is that they offer medications at a much more affordable price.
Because online pharmacies are able to meet the needs of patients across the country from one centralized location, they are able to save on upfront costs. These costs include paying a larger staff as well as the brick-and-mortar locations where patients are able to fill their prescriptions.
Online pharmacies also offer lower prices because they are able to meet their patients’ needs with generic drugs. As we mentioned earlier, generic medications provide the same ingredients and effects as name-brand medications. Because generic providers did not have to pay for things like research, they are able to sell those drugs for a lower cost.
How Can You Find a Reliable Online Pharmacy?
As the popularity of online pharmacies grows, so does the number of dishonest or dangerous online companies posing as safe and reliable pharmacies. Let’s take a look at the three things you should always look for in an online pharmacy. If they don’t have all three, keep looking for one that does.
Prescriptions Required for Prescription Medications
One way to spot a fake pharmacy is if they don’t require a prescription for something you know to be a prescription drug.
A trustworthy online pharmacy does not eliminate your need to go to the doctor’s office in order to get a prescription. Typically, online pharmacies will ask you to fax your prescription to them–something your doctor may be able to do for you. If they aren’t asking for proof of a prescription for a prescription drug, don’t place an order with them.
(That being said, some online pharmacies may offer over-the-counter drugs, as well. It is not abnormal to sell something like ibuprofen without a prescription. If a brick-and-mortar pharmacy doesn’t require a prescription for a medication, an online pharmacy probably won’t, either.)
Certification from Multiple Online Pharmacy Boards
In order to combat the rise of false online pharmacies, several online pharmacy boards were established. One that you should always look for is the Pharmacy Checker verification. Pharmacy Checker is run by a group of pharmaceutical professionals who run background checks on online pharmacies. They provide a detailed list of all online pharmacies that are currently active and trustworthy.
In addition, it is beneficial to find certifications from CIPA (a Canadian association of licensed pharmacies) and IPABC (an international association of licensed pharmacies based in British Columbia).
What do these certifications tell you? They tell you that the online pharmacy you’re shopping with is run by licensed pharmacists who are selling safe, verified medications. Because so many online pharmacies do have these certifications, there is never any reason to settle for one that does not.
Protection of Personal Information
Finally, ordering medications online can require you to share personal information. This can include things like your full legal name, your physical address, and your banking information. While medical professionals are legally obligated to keep that information private, their websites may not be quite as secure.
Alongside any seals of certification, online pharmacies should display the seals of any cybersecurity programs they use. This can include programs such as McAfee Secure and Geotrust. When a website is protected by these kinds of programs, you can rest assured that things like your banking information are safe.
Get the Medications You Need at an Affordable Price
Getting your prescriptions filled in America isn’t always easy. Whether you aren’t insured or the price of your medication has recently gone up, the financial aspect of medical treatment can become difficult to navigate. Buying medication online from a safe and reliable pharmacy is a great way to get the medications you need at a price you can actually afford.
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