Why You Need to Be Careful When Choosing an Online Pharmacy

online pharmacy

Did you know that only about 4 percent of all online pharmacies actually meet federal and state laws? This, coupled with the fact that about 25 percent of customers purchase prescription medicines from online pharmacies, brings a number of concerns regarding the legitimacy of online pharmacies and customer safety.

There are lots of advantages of using online pharmacies. They are convenient, ensure privacy and confidentiality, have a wider choice of medicines, and they save one of our most precious resources – time.

On the other hand, unless you do some research before ordering your medicines online, you’re never really sure whether the pharmacy is licensed, if they are going to sell you counterfeit or fake drugs, and so on.

Before you decide to buy from an online pharmacy, you need to know some things about it. Below is a list of tips that will help you choose the right e-pharmacy.

Trade-off for privacy

A number of people don’t like talking to a doctor about the drugs they want to use, so they choose online pharmacies out of a desire for privacy. Still, even though e-pharmacies offer better privacy, the price of using them can be fatal.

There are so many online pharmacies that will give you drugs without a prescription, which should be a huge warning sign for anyone. If drugs are sold online without a prescription, that means they may be fake. Even worse, these drugs sometimes have no active ingredients or they contain dangerous ingredients.

Not only is this risky, but it is illegal too. There are two potential legal issues that you may face when buying drugs online:

– You mustn’t buy controlled substances without having been evaluated by a licensed physician in person and issued a prescription first. This goes for anabolic steroids, stimulants, sedatives, and narcotic painkillers that require a prescription.

– Also, while in the US, it is illegal to buy prescription drugs which are not approved by the FDA even if they are legal in the country where you buy them.

What to watch out for

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You may think that all online pharmacies are regulated by the government and federal institutions, but unfortunately, that is not the case.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which normally regulates prescription drugs in the US, is not able to control the efficacy and safety of imported products. The online market is a world of its own. Websites can emerge and disappear overnight, so if you become a victim of a scam or receive counterfeit drugs, there is not much the authorities can do.

Therefore, you need to keep in mind that there are some potential problems that you may encounter while purchasing medicines from online pharmacies. And since laws that should protect you have certain limitations, you are pretty much on your own.

These are the potential risks of purchasing medications from online pharmacies:

– You may get different medications than those you ordered.

– The online pharmacy may sell you counterfeit medications.

– They can also sell medication that is not approved.

– Next, they may sell medications without a doctor’s prescription.

– Finally, don’t be so sure about privacy, as they may not protect your personal information after all.

Interestingly enough, you could also determine whether a pharmacy is legitimate by looking at its prices. If you are paying for your prescriptions, why not shop around? That way, you can see the prices, and if they are unrealistically high or low, this is a red flag.

Also, check if a pharmacy’s physical address is from the country it claims to be in, especially if they claim to be from the US or Canada. Simply check if they have a physical address and if the address is in these countries.

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Make sure the online pharmacy is licensed

If you want to buy medications from an online pharmacy, then the pharmacy has to be licensed in your state. If not, it has to be licensed at least to deliver medications to people living in your state.

If it is legal, there is no reason why your online pharmacy wouldn’t have the license, as it is a basic thing that e-pharmacies need to have. After all, if you expect your local brick-and-mortar pharmacy to be professional, reliable, and reputable, then why not expect the same from your online pharmacy?

The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) ensures that each pharmacy in the United States, including those operating online, abide by the same standards. This organization covers the following territories:

– 50 U.S. states

– District of Columbia

– 3 U.S. territories

– 9 Canadian provinces

– 4 Australian states

Therefore, check if your online pharmacy is licensed by the NABP before actually ordering any medications from them. It may be one additional step, but it can save your health in the long run.

Check with your health insurance

In case your health insurance company covers your prescriptions, you may ask your health insurer to give you a list of approved online pharmacies. Payers vet pharmacies before accepting them as suppliers, so if your U.S. pharmacy or Canadian pharmacy [1] is on the list of approved online pharmacies, it is a good sign that it is fully legitimate.

But even if a pharmacy is not on the list of pharmacies approved by your health insurance company, it doesn’t mean that it is not legitimate. This only means that your health insurer doesn’t have a business agreement with the online pharmacy.

Always ask if an online pharmacy requires a prescription (and more)

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If an online pharmacy you are considering allows you to call in a prescription for yourself, there is a good chance that it is not legitimate. Also, if the pharmacy can get its own doctors to write a prescription for you, stay away from it, as this is neither safe nor legal.

You need to make sure that your e-pharmacy is not yet another drug market. If they take their business seriously, they should be taking measures to get proof of your prescriptions and taking the time to verify them.

When enrolling with an e-pharmacy, see if they are asking only for your basic personal information, credit card number, and prescriptions. It is impossible to ensure that your prescription is correct by looking at this information alone, so if they are too curious about you, that is always a good sign.


There are more and more online pharmacies emerging every year, and this trend seems only to increase in the near future. This means that customers are getting more convenient ways to purchase prescription and over-the-counter medications.

It is completely legal to get your medications from an online pharmacy. However, not all pharmacies abide by the legal guidelines.

Keep in mind that drugs that you buy from fraudulent online pharmacies can put your or your family’s health at risk. For this reason, it is important to be careful and look for legitimate online pharmacies. If you really want to get your medications from an e-pharmacy, make sure that you know that it is legal and safe.

Also, watch out for the warning signs that we listed above and take your time to carefully check everything associated with an online pharmacy.

Bottom line – don’t hurry and be careful. After all, your health is the most precious thing that you have.

This post was last modified on November 16, 2022 2:22 am

Piya C: Piya C is internet savvy health and lifestyle blogger. She covers beauty, relationship, diet and many more topics. #blogger #author Want to connect with me? Follow me. I reply my every DM & tweet.
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