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Guidelines to buy medicines from an online pharmacy

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The growth of the Internet in recent years has changed the way the health industry operates. Today, purchasing medications from an online pharmacy is one of the latest trends around the world. Buying from an online pharmacy has its share of advantages and disadvantages. The disadvantages of buying from an online pharmacy are mainly related to ignorance of the guidelines that need to be followed while purchasing medicines online. You can save around 20% to 30% by purchasing drugs from an online pharmacy. However, there is no sure shot way to guarantee safety of drugs purchased online. There are several online pharmacies that sell counterfeit or expired drugs that do more harm than good. If you are purchasing medicines from an online pharmacy, you need to be aware of things such as:

·         Some online pharmacies ask patients to fill a questionnaire before purchasing drugs online. These online pharmacy sites conveniently ignore the need of valid prescription from a doctor, which is necessary to dispense prescription drugs. You need to understand that an online questionnaire cannot be an alternative to a valid prescription that you receive during your visit to a healthcare professional. Prescription drugs have specific intended uses, and the dosage form depends on several factors such as the medical condition of the patient and the other medicines a patient is taking. Buying prescription drugs without a valid prescription is a big health risk.

·         Rogue online pharmacies are known to sell counterfeit or expired drugs to their consumers. Purchasing from a fake online pharmacy can leave bitter experiences, as you may not receive the drugs you ordered or may receive expired or counterfeit drugs that are harmful to your health.

Let’s look at some guidelines that you need to follow while purchasing medicines from an online pharmacy.

·         A majority of genuine online pharmacies carry the VIPPS (Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites) seal. VIPPS certified online pharmacy sites undergo verification from concerned regulatory authorities. You should always buy drugs from a VIPPS certified online pharmacy.

·         Never buy drugs from an online pharmacy that does not ask for a valid prescription from your healthcare service provider. A genuine online pharmacy will not dispense drugs to you without verifying the doctor’s prescription.

·         Look for clear and easy to understand security and return policies before purchasing drugs from an online pharmacy. Do not share your personal information such as bank account number, social security number, credit card number, and other financial information until you are sure the information will be protected, not misused, or shared with others.

Look for a physical address and customer care phone numbers on the Contact Us page before placing your order. Try contacting the customer service number to verify its existence. Opt for buying from an online pharmacy that is located in your country.

·         Look for shipping and other miscellaneous charges applicable to your order of medicines. The low price advantage is lost if you pay high shipping charges and order drugs from an online pharmacy.

There are several online pharmacy directories that list VIPPS certified Internet pharmacies. These sites also provide user ratings for pharmacies listed on the sites. The ratings are based on customers’ experiences of buying drugs from a specific online pharmacy.



Buying prescription medicines from an online pharmacy is the latest trend across the world. Several fraudsters have identified this growing trend, which has increased the number of online pharmacy scams. To protect yourself from online scams, you need to follow some safety guidelines, such as preferring buying from VIPPS certified pharmacies, checking for security and return policies on the website and not getting lured by offers from online pharmacies that sell drugs without prescription.


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  • Posted On June 20, 2012
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