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Are Online Pharmacies Legit? Safety Concerns To Be Aware Of

Edward Neeman Published: May 15, 2019 Updated: May 15, 2019

Keyboard with medicine button

Today, it seems that everything is moving from the physical world to the online one. It only makes sense that online pharmacies have been popping up everywhere, but the real question is whether or not they are legitimate.

When it comes to something as important as your prescriptions and medication, it’s a good idea to learn whether or not your online pharmacy is legit, and that’s what we’re here to help with.

What Is An Online Pharmacy?

An online pharmacy is exactly what it sounds like. It is a pharmacy that is based online that allows customers to browse its products and purchase through a web portal, rather than by going to an in-store location to purchase.

Is there such a thing as a legal online pharmacy? The short answer is yes to that question. The longer answer is that it really depends on the online pharmacy you are using.

While many people may want to believe that every business online is honest, it would be a lie to say that there are no such things as scams or illegally set up businesses online that aim to take advantage of unsuspecting visitors to their site who is just trying to look for the best bang for their buck. To answer this question fully, there is such a thing as a legit online pharmacy that can be trusted. As long as the site is verified, there is nothing to worry about in using the services.

How To Order Prescriptions Online

You can order prescriptions online relatively easily. Just scroll through a verified list and browse the legit online pharmacy selections until you find a store that you prefer. Certain stores may carry different products than others. Most online stores are user-friendly, so finding what you need is not made to be a difficult task.

When You’ll Need To Pick Up Medication In-Store

You’ll need to pick up your medication in-store any time that you require a specialized medication that cannot be purchased online. These can include potentially time-sensitive medications and medication that is needed immediately, or in an emergency situation. Medications that do not qualify for online purchase will vary.

To find a verified online pharmacy in your country (if such a thing exists), there are verified pharmacy lists that you can refer to. Being able to compare and contrast legitimate online pharmacies at the press of a button is convenient and it helps to prevent the possibility of making a mistake and choosing an unreliable or even potentially dangerous online pharmacy solution that is in no way a good option for you.

Even if an online pharmacy that is not on a verified list has lower prices, it’s never wise to be risky when it comes to purchasing something as important as medication for you or your loved ones.

Sites You Should Definitely Avoid

According to the National Capital Poison Center, only about 4% of online pharmacies meet the necessary standards to be considered verified by state and federal law standards in the US. The laws and necessary standards may be different in other countries, so be sure to check with your own country’s food, drug, and poison control website, if there is such a resource, before committing to using an online pharmacy.

Since legitimate online pharmacies are so hard to come by, if there is an online pharmacy that does not appear on the list of verifiable and trusted online pharmacies from a government or state-run website, then you can automatically assume that website is not to be trusted and should be avoided at all cost.

Is It Safe?

It is completely safe to purchase from an online pharmacy, so long as it meets the standards of food and drug regulations for that specific country. If the online pharmacy that you are interested in doing business with is not on such an official list, then you may as well consider anything sold on that site as potentially compromised.

The reason that it is not safe to purchase from sites that are not trusted online pharmacies is due to the fact that such an entity would be performing business outside of the law’s regulations. That means that nothing they sold can be proven to have passed any sort of inspection and the origin of the medicine sold by an online pharmacy that is not a legit online pharmacy could potentially sell anything and pass it off as something else on the label.

For example, if you were to purchase medication for a major condition that you have from a non-verified website that is not deemed safe by your local government’s standards, then that means there is the chance that they are selling you a placebo, a completely wrong prescription, or even something potentially dangerous that could cause you irreparable harm. Since your health and the health of anyone you may be purchasing for is of the utmost concern, there would be no reason to take the chance on a medicine that could potentially be something completely mysterious and from a questionable origin.

Warning Signs To Watch Out For

There are plenty of telltale signs of a shifty online pharmacy that you, as a consumer, can be on the lookout for. Since fraudulent online pharmacies can have inventory from unknown sources, these sites have a much higher risk of causing adverse effects in people who shop there.

Some red flags to look for before you’ve even added anything to your online shopping cart would be to remain skeptical of sites that offer very low prices that seem too good to be true, see if they are located outside of your home country (such as outside the U.S. if you live there), and check for accurate active ingredients on the site.