How to Know If an Online Pharmacy Is Legitimate
Many pharmacy websites are engaged in legal business, providing shoppers privacy, protection and overall convenience. However, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, there are lots of rogue ones as well, where unapproved or counterfeit medicines are being sold beyond the security of licensed drugstores.
Such illegal pharmacies usually display a Canadian flag even if they are operated from a completely different part of the globe and in no way connected to Canada. Obviously, medicines offered by these websites can pose serious health risks.
Indications of an Illegal Online Pharmacy
First of all, stay away from online pharmacies that allow you to purchase prescription drugs with no prescription from your physician, or those that have no resident U.S. state-licensed pharmacist to handle customers’ questions or concerns. 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.
Indications of a Legit 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. You can check the licensing status of a pharmacy by checking your state board of pharmacy’s website. 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.
Risks of Ordering from Illegal 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. Of course, you want that active ingredient because it’s what makes the medicine work for whatever it is you’re taking it for.
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.
Finally, the drugs may not be stored under ideal conditions, such as at a warehouse where the stocks are not well-organized and exposed to unmanaged temperatures. This will not only make the medicines ineffective, but it can also cause chemical changes that can make them dangerous for human consumption.