How to Know If an Online Pharmacy Is Legitimate
There are lots of pharmacy websites that are totally legit and offer convenience, privacy, and protection for medicine purchases. However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns that there are plenty of rogue ones too, where unapproved or fake medicines are being sold outside the safety net of of licensed drugstores.
Such black-market pharmacies often display a Canadian flag even if they are actually based somewhere else and have no connection whatsoever to Canada. Needless to say, medicines sold by these websites can be hazardous to your health.
Indications of an Illegal Online Pharmacy
First off, be careful with online pharmacies that let you buy prescription medicine without a doctor’s prescription, or those that do not employ a U.S. state-licensed pharmacist to address customer queries. Untrustworthy online pharmacies offer insanely low prices too and have a reputation for sending spam marketing emails. In addition, they are usually located outside of the U.S. and offer global shipping.
Signs of a Legally Operating Online Pharmacy
On the other hand, there are a few ways to identify a licensed online pharmacy. If they won’t sell you anything unless you can show a valid doctor’s prescription, and if they have a state license, then they are most probably a legit online pharmacy. Your pharmacy state board’s website is useful for verifying a pharmacy’s licensing status. If they have a pharmacist – remember, U.S. state-licensed – whom you can readily talk to for questions or concerns, and if you can prove that they are located in the U.
Also, make sure their website comes with the VIPPS? Seal (National Association of Boards of Pharmacy’s Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice SitesTM Seal). If this seal is present, that means they have satisfied all state licensure requirements s well as other NABP criteria, and are therefore legit.
Why You Should Never Buy from Illegitimate Online Pharmacies
Shady online drugstores sell medicines that can be hazardous because they may contain too little or too much of the active ingredient that you need to be treated. Or they may not contain that active ingredient at all and even come with other potentially harmful ingredients. Certainly, you’ll want that active ingredient in the right amounts because it’s what makes the medicine effective for the purpose.
If a drug has obscure active ingredients, it may not work the way you want it to and can even bring unexpected and possibly harmful interactions with other drugs you could be taking.
Lastly, medicines from illegal online pharmacies are likely not stored properly – for example, they may be stashed in a warehouse that doesn’t come with necessary temperature controls. This will not just diminish the potency of the drugs, but it can also cause chemical changes that can make them a health hazard.