If you have a regular prescription to fill you might be surprised to learn that you can now buy medicines online. Shipped right to your mailbox, getting your prescription drugs online is convenient and inexpensive. However, there are some common pitfalls that you should avoid. These include scammers, disreputable companies, and simple misunderstandings about how your products will arrive. Read on to learn the common pitfalls and successfully avoid them the next time you’re shopping:
Licensed Pharmacies Only!
There are many pharmacies online that claim to be legitimate, reputable companies and many of them are. To be sure you’re only dealing with good companies look for their license. Usually this will be at the bottom of the page somewhere, close to where the address of the company is located. Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean your drugs will come that location, simply that the company is based there.
It is a common practice for companies to use third-party affiliates to source their products. This means that ordering from a U.S.-based store may mean that some of your drugs will come from India, Europe, or elsewhere. This is a common practice even for your local pharmacy, but it should be mentioned here in case you have any questions when you receive your scripts.
Making sure the company is licensed ensures that they follow industry procedures and that you’ll receive high-quality products that have been safely procured. It also gives you some recourse in the even that anything ever goes awry. You can call the licensing authority and ask about that particular store to make sure that they are in fact licensed.
Check The Seal
Online stores often contain seals on their pages that show that other third-party watchdog groups approve of their operation. There are various international organizations for the medical industry. A prescription pharmacy drugstore can have a seal from any of the following organizations:
- Pharmacy Checker
The particular pharmacy you look at may have a seal from a different organization. This is to be expected. If you encounter this simply research the other organization and make sure that it is valid and real. Scams don’t last long on the internet because of how quickly negative information about a company spreads. If an organization has existed for some time it is most likely legitimate. Many of these groups are made up of pharmacists and others who work in the industry to provide a service.
Talk To A Pharmacist
One of the surest ways to know that you’re dealing with a real pharmacy is to ask to speak to a pharmacist. It might not be possible to do so right away due to the various ways online companies structure their customer service, but the option should exist. Many have a call center where you can get more information or chat support. If the “pharmacist” sounds unsure or is not confident about basic questions you ask about your medicine it could be a warning sign. Qualified pharmacists will work at a legitimate company, no exceptions.
Besides having the comfort of knowing good personnel are at the company calling in will give you a good idea of the type of customer service you will receive. If you are big on prompt, courteous service this will be important. Better to know ahead of time what to expect. The way they treat their prospective customers will be how they treat their most-valued regular paying clients. Keep this in mind as it can highly affect your experience working with them.
Expect Longer Shipping
Many online drug stores are able to offer lower prices because they buy in bulk. They may also source their medicine from countries where the cost is lower. For example, a Canada pharmacy may have access to a supplier not available in the United States. This is good for you because your options are increased but it comes with some drawbacks.
Any drugs that come across international borders are subject to customs inspections. This process takes time and can add up to an additional week for shipment. Keep this mind if you’re in a hurry. Most would agree that knowing exactly when to expect your drugs is very important. Anticipate waiting longer and placing orders sooner to make up for this.
Buying medicine online is much the same as filling a prescription at a local pharmacy. The only difference is that you should perform some preliminary research and make sure they have a good reputation. Check licenses, verification seals, and ask to speak to a pharmacist. Also, be sure to know how long to expect for shipments to arrive. Keep these tips in mind next time to enjoy the convenience of online ordering for a hassle-free experience.
Jessica Thomas is a writer and professional photographer living in Los Angeles. She often writes about Pharmacy, Drugs, Skin Care etc for Northwest Pharmacy which is a leading Online Canadian Pharmacy & International Drugstore. Her favorite hobbies include hiking, reading fantasy fiction, and still-life drawing.