How to Safely and Legally Buy Drugs From Online Pharmacies

How to Safely and Legally Buy Drugs From Online Pharmacies

How to Safely and Legally Buy Drugs From Online Pharmacies

How to Safely and Legally Buy Drugs From Online Pharmacies

Many of us would like to be able to buy our prescription drugs from internet drugstores because it appears to be a convenient and cost-effective practice. Is it, however, legal and safe to buy drugs from an online pharmacy? How to Safely and Legally Buy Drugs From Online Pharmacies?

Yes, if you understand the potential pitfalls and adhere to some guidelines.

The key is to find an internet drugstore that is legal, safe, and meets your specific requirements, such as convenience and pricing. There are legitimate businesses out there, but there are also “rogue” sites; online pharmacies (really phony pharmacies) out to defraud you.

Is It Legal to Purchase Drugs Online?

Yes, as long as certain rules are followed, it is legal. Whether or not it is legal to buy prescription drugs online depends on a number of factors, including your location, the location of the pharmacy, and whether or not a prescription is required. Make yourself acquainted with the requirements that must be met in order to make a legal purchase of drugs via the internet.

Is It Safe to Purchase Drugs on the Internet?

Yes, it is possible to be safe if you choose the right pharmacy. You’ll want to stay away from the hundreds (if not thousands) of shady websites that claim to be online pharmacies but are really just after your money. Many online pharmacies may be unregistered as well. Obtaining medication from them could be risky and costly because the medication could be counterfeit, diluted, or out-of-date.

If you understand the reasons why most online pharmacies are not safe or legal, then you’ll better understand how to make a wise choice.

A real pharmacy will always need to know your prescription. Rogue pharmacies will say they don’t need a prescription for any of your medications which is a sign that they are not legitimate.

Online Pharmacy or Pharmacy Online?

There is a distinction between purchasing from a retail pharmacy via the internet and purchasing from a pharmacy with only an internet presence.

Local drug stores may have websites that you can use to fill or renew a prescription. You’ve heard of them: CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, and a slew of others. Unless you have concerns about the reputation of your local pharmacy, there should be none. To access their prescription capabilities, make sure you use the correct web address.

There are also network and mail-order pharmacies that collaborate with health insurance companies to manage large drug orders and keep insurers’ prices low. Mail-order pharmacy companies include Express Scripts, Medco, and Caremark (which is owned by CVS). Buying from them through your insurer is just as safe as going to your local pharmacy. If it is difficult for you to get to your local pharmacy, these pharmacies can be very useful. They’re also great if you like the convenience of renewing your prescriptions online or if you want to order several months’ worth of a medication.

How to Order Drugs Legally and Safely From an Internet Drug Store

First, determine whether pricing is an important issue for you. If you have insurance, you may be able to use your insurance to purchase your drugs online, but your cost will probably be exactly the same at any pharmacy since the cost is a co-pay that is determined by your insurer’s formulary and tier pricing.

If you do have insurance to pay for the drugs:

  • Check with your insurance company or payer, first. See if they have a recommended mail-order pharmacy you can use. If you can’t find the information on your insurance company’s or payer’s website, then phone their customer service number to ask.
  • If you don’t like the idea of using your insurer’s mail-order company or if they don’t have one to recommend, then find the website of your favorite local pharmacy, preferably the one where you fill prescriptions already (CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, or others). They will very likely have the capability of letting you order drugs online.
  • If neither of those approaches works, then follow steps 2, 3, and 4 below for finding a safe and legal pharmacy to order from.
If you do not have insurance to pay for the drugs (no prescription coverage or you risk falling into the Medicare doughnut hole):
  • Begin by comparing drug prices at one of the websites that help you make that comparison.
  • Double check that the online pharmacy you wish to use is legal and safe. A database called VIPPs (Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites)  maintain by NABP (National Association of Boards of Pharmacy.) Any pharmacy on that list has been analyzed to be sure it is safe and legal for you to use. You can tell if a mail order pharmacy is VIPPS-certified by looking for the official VIPPS logo on their website. However, not all online pharmacies has a verify review.
  • Another group, LegitScript, maintains a database of verified pharmacies that are safe and legal.

If you want to order from a pharmacy not found on any of the lists of safe and legal websites. Then be sure to answer the questions that will help you determine the safety and legality. This is to help for the ordering from that company.


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