More people are staying at home to avoid contracting COVID-19. Unfortunately, you still need to pick up your groceries, prescriptions, and other essentials.
Don’t rush to start ordering medication online yet, though! While 25% of online customers are ordering their prescriptions online, only 4% of online pharmacies are legal and licensed to operate. If you’re not careful, you could end up with fake medications!
Here are seven things you need to know before you start ordering prescriptions online. With these tips, you can avoid scammers to get the medications you need.
Discover how to order prescriptions online with these seven tips today!
1. Identify Scammers
Before you start ordering prescriptions online, it’s essential to learn how to spot a scammer. Otherwise, you could end up with a medication that might hurt your health rather than help it.
In fact, some online pharmacies sell medications that are full of toxic fillers. Other fake pharmacies will use your private information to steal your identity. To avoid receiving fake drugs, it’s important to know which pharmacies to avoid.
It happens more often than you might think.
Even your favorite social media platforms could steer you in the wrong direction. About 40% of social media posts that promote medications send consumers to illegal online pharmacies. If you start seeing posts for online pharmacies, avoid their crafty marketing messages.
Instead, use these tips to learn how to identify a scam.
First, check out the domain name. Do you see a lock in front of the URL, along with “HTTPS” beside it? These factors indicate the website is secure.
Don’t make purchases from a site without looking for these key factors. Otherwise, buying medications from an insecure site could put your private information at risk. Learning how to order prescriptions online from safe pharmacies can give you peace of mind.
While you’re at it, look for “.pharmacy” at the end of the URL. The National Association Board of Pharmacies (NABP) checks sites to make sure they’re legitimate.
If you see “.pharmacy,” the pharmacy follows federal and state practices, meaning the site is safe to buy from.
2. Use Your Prescription
Does the online pharmacy claim you don’t need a prescription when ordering pills online? Avoid that site. After all, you want to make sure the pharmacy sends you the prescription you need.
If they don’t require a prescription from a licensed physician, you could receive the wrong medication. Taking the wrong medication could do more harm than good.
Does the online pharmacy provide access to a licensed pharmacist? Can you speak with a medical professional with the training necessary to answer your questions? If not, keep searching.
After all, you want to choose a pharmacy with your best interests in mind.
Many online pharmacies appear for a few weeks, scam a handful of patients, and disappear. You might have a hard time getting your money back from fraudulent pharmacies. Instead, make sure the pharmacy is prioritizing your health and safety.
You can learn more about how to order online here.
3. Consider Costs
When ordering prescriptions online, many people make the mistake of looking for the cheapest option. Unfortunately, you could risk buying from a scam site if your only concern is cost.
People spend about $1,200 every year on prescription medications. Though it’s normal to look for a deal, you don’t want to sacrifice your health.
Take the time to compare prices across numerous websites.
Comparison shopping will help you determine the average price. If one price seems too good to be true, it likely is.
Meanwhile, try to avoid outlandish marketing claims. Don’t focus on the marketing messages. Instead, make sure you’re ordering medication online that you actually need.
4. Check the Address
Does the website list a street address? Is there a phone number you can call? Where is the pharmacy located?
If the website online shows a P.O. box, they’re likely not providing the right address.
See if you can speak with a pharmacist for more information. If you can’t speak with anyone at the pharmacy, scratch that one off your list.
5. Call Your Insurers
Your insurance company can help you during your search, too.
Ask your insurance company if they have a list of online pharmacies they trust. Choosing a pharmacy from that list will give you peace of mind about your choice. That way, you’ll know someone has already vetted the pharmacy for you.
You might find a few online pharmacies your insurance company hasn’t partnered with. That’s normal. It only means your insurance company hasn’t forged a partnership with that pharmacy.
6. Use Your Tools
There are a few extra tools you can use before ordering medication online to vet your options. In fact, many organizations have done most of the work for you.
Head over to the NABP website. Since the NABP screens online pharmacies to look for fraud, you can trust their selection.
During your search, keep an eye out for the Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites (VIPPS®) Seal, too. This seal indicates the pharmacy meets licensure requirements and the NABP’s approval.
If you’re researching a Canadian pharmacy, using the Canadian International Pharmacy Association (CIPA) website instead.
Otherwise, head over to the FDA website. Make sure the pharmacy doesn’t have any complaints filed against them before making your purchase.
7. Read Reviews
Online reviews are a great way to vet online pharmacies as well. Reading reviews will help you learn from patients just like you. You can find reviews on the company’s Better Business Bureau and Google My Business listings.
Otherwise, explore PharmacyChecker. This resource will help you confirm a pharmacy is licensed and legitimate. You can also use it for comparison shopping.
Shop Safe: 7 Tips for Ordering Prescriptions Online
Don’t start buying pills from the first pharmacies you find! Instead, keep these seven tips for ordering prescriptions online in mind. These seven tips will help you avoid fraudulent websites that might put your personal information and health at risk.
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