Online pharmacies are sometimes used as an alternative option for obtaining medications especially for people who do not have health insurance, a good prescription drug plan or who want to purchase medication privately. The question is; are online pharmacies really worth it? There are some risks that come with online pharmacies that you should be aware of before considering utilizing them as an option. We discussed what online pharmacies are in this article and we also talk about their risks and potential alternatives you can consider.

What are Online Pharmacies?

Online pharmacies can also be regarded as mail-order pharmacies and they strictly operate over the internet. They can operate in the same country their customers are or they may be out of the country. Customers purchase their desired drugs over the internet and these drugs get delivered to the home address of the customer.

People who utilize online pharmacies are typically looking for cheaper drug alternatives or wish to obtain medication without consulting a physician for a prescription. While the intent may be good, the ramifications of using this method can be serious.

The Cons of Using an Online Pharmacy

As appealing as using an online pharmacy can sound, there are also the negative sides to it and these should be weighed heavily before making the decision of using an online pharmacy. The cons below should be noted before using an online pharmacy:

  • You could run into legal consequences. Online pharmacies often operate outside of the US and do not require you to submit a prescription in order to purchase medication. This is a big no-no. In the US, it is illegal to purchase controlled substances when you don’t have a prescription.
  • Another legal consequence could be purchasing prescription drugs that aren’t approved previously by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Most drugs manufactured in other countries aren’t approved by the FDA, and therefore illegal to purchase.
  • Improper packaging is something to be concerned with, as well. Most medications require certain temperature storage conditions. During the FDA’s research, packages in the sun can reach up to 136 degrees Fahrenheit. This can cause the medication you purchased to not work properly or at all.
  • When you visit a doctor and obtain a prescription for medication, your medical history and current medication use is taken into account when a decision is made. This is important because many medications can interact negatively with each other or with certain medical conditions. You could be inadvertabtly making your health situation worse.
  • Unfortunately, it’s been found that false claims are often made through online pharmacies. Findings have shown that many online pharmacies claiming to be located in Canada, for instance, are actually located in different countries. At the same time, these pharmacies were found to also be providing medications that weren’t genuine or true to their name. Harmful ingredients were also a concern.

Alternative Options

It is important to consider other alternatives that may be helpful because the risks associated with online pharmacies are more than its benefits. Consider other options such as:

  • Sign up for an RX savings card, like Good RX so as to obtain discounts on your prescription purchases. This will enable you to save up to 80% using one of these cards.
  • Check your insurance if you have one to see if they have an approved online pharmacy you can use. These legitimate online pharmacies will often offer extra savings along with the convenience of your medications being delivered to you.
  • There are legitimate online pharmacies you can use, just be sure to verify their safety before use. Make sure they require a prescription for medications and only use sites that end in .pharmacy instead of .com. When you see this, it means that they have been approved by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP).

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