Within the past year, a member of my family was questioning whether to buy medication online. In the end, he didn’t, as the physician prescribing the drug would not be responsible for his future care—the online pharmacy was in another country. Medications prescribed by doctors in the U.S. have to be approved by the FDA. So what if he’d just gone ahead? He would no longer have had the care and watchful eye of his doctor. But there’s much more to it.
Ordering prescriptions online can be fraught with difficulty. Recent information from Blue Cross/Blue Shield emphasizes the dangers. When considering using an online pharmacy, ask yourself the following:
- Is this pharmacy U.S. or state-licensed?
- Is the given diagnosis the right one, or is this company just trying to sell a medication to make money?
- Will this pharmacy protect my health information, or sell it to some other online business?
Also, know that some of the medications sold online are:
- fake or copies of a real medication
- using a formula not strong enough or too strong
- using dangerous ingredients
- selling you a drug that is expired, out of date for efficacy
- are not FDA approved for safety and effectiveness
- are developed or made using unsafe conditions which go against FDA standards
- would be unsafe to use with other medications or health products
- are not labeled, stored or shipped correctly
If you are buying your medications online, here is what to look for to make sure it’s a legal, safe online pharmacy.
- the pharmacy always requires a doctor’s prescription
- the pharmacy provides an address and telephone number within the U.S.
- the site offers a pharmacist to answer your questions
- the site has a license with your state board of pharmacy (source: fda.gov)
IMPORTANT NOTE: Your local retail pharmacy like Walgreens, Wal-Mart or Target might renew your prescription online. This is a big difference from getting your medications from a pharmacy that ONLY has an online presence. If you trust your local pharmacy, you should have no trouble purchasing your drugs from their website. For more information go to: fda.gov/besaferx