The advent of online pharmacies has made the process of getting medicines more convenient. The idea of buying drugs and having a doctor’s examination without the usual hassle makes this technology even more interesting. This otherwise great application of technology in the health care industry is currently being defamed by rogue online pharmacies.
While many may not know, the and use counterfeit medicines is on the rise. Online pharmacies operated by fraudulent individuals is one of the primary cause of this growing trend. To add to this problem, the use of online pharmacies is expected to grow further in the coming years.
How Can I Buy Medicines from an Online Pharmacy Safely?
Not every pharmacy that sells drugs on the internet is registered or licensed to do so, buying from such pharmacy can be potentially dangerous. To avoid falling victim, it is crucial that one understands how to spot fake online pharmacies and get genuine drugs from legal ones.
Buy Only from a Registered Online Pharmacy
If you are looking to buy safely from an online pharmacy, then you should visit only a registered online pharmacy. If an online pharmacy is registered appropriately, it will do all it takes to ensure that patients buying drugs are safe. This includes selling genuine drugs, protecting the privacy of patients among others.
If it is legal for online pharmacies to operate in your country, then there must be a regulatory body controlling their activities. If a pharmacy is registered by that body, it is issued a seal or license which you would find displayed on the website of online pharmacies.
If you cannot find any form of registration, you can visit the website of the licensing body. There you should see a list of all the online pharmacies licensed to distribute medicine in your region. Some regulatory agencies also have a list of red-flagged online pharmacies which people are warned to stay clear of.
Check for the Availability of Online Doctors
In most countries, online pharmacies are required to have online doctors (telemedicine doctors) which carry out checks on patients looking to buy prescription drugs. As an alternative, the online pharmacy should work with an agency that specializes in running diagnostics and prescribing drugs online.
These online diagnostics are usually carried using a video call. Some online pharmacies require payment for a specific period (monthly or bimonthly), others require payment for each call. Many registered online pharmacies have doctors you can chat with if you have questions.
When you visit any online pharmacy check for the availability and contacts of these individuals. If there are none and the pharmacy offers to sell a prescription drug to you without an online prescription or a prescription from a licensed health practitioner, do not buy. Chances are that the online pharmacy is unregistered.
Beware of Too Good to Be True Prices
While online pharmacies sell drugs at a much lower price than their physical counterparts, the advertised prices should give you a hint. If an online pharmacy offers to sell drugs at a price that they would be at a loss, you should beware of that online pharmacy.
There online pharmacies that promise to sell drugs at up to 99 percent discount. While this may be possible on special event sales. Aside for sales on these special days, discounts like this should give you concern.
Buy from an Online Pharmacy in Your Region
Technology has made it possible to purchase items from anywhere in the world, this is also true for medicines. Due to the sensitive nature of drugs, buying drugs from a registered online pharmacy in your country is your best bet for buying safely.
Not doubting the fact that there are pharmacies that can ship to anywhere in the world, buy from a localized online pharmacy. Why should you buy from an online pharmacy in your region?
- Your drug will get to you in time, shipping from another country can sometimes take months.
- You will get the specific brand (and dosage) prescribed for you by your doctor.
- Some online pharmacies sell to only specific countries, if you attempt to ship to your country, you may never get your drug.
- Some drugs available in another country may have been banned in yours.
There’s Often a Physical Address
A physical address with which you can contact or locate an online pharmacy is a good sign that the online pharmacy is legit. If the online pharmacy has a physical address attached to its website, you can check with google maps to make sure an actual pharmacy is located there.
If the online pharmacy does not have a physical address or the display address does not provide a match on google maps, chances are that you are at an unregistered online pharmacy. If you find yourself in such a situation, do not proceed to buy drugs from a place like this.
What Are the Dangers of Buying from an Unregistered Online Pharmacy?
Is an unregistered online pharmacy any different from a registered one? Here are some of the dangers of buying from an unregistered online pharmacy.
You Risk Getting a Wrong Drug
An unregistered pharmacy can embark on a misleading advertisement of drugs. In the process, you can order for a hair loss shampoo and get a regular hair cream. While a registered online pharmacy risks sanction or total shut down if it does this, some unregistered pharmacy operates in completed anonymity.
Your Private Information Be at Risk
Many people who shop at online pharmacies do so because of the anonymity that comes along. Due to some sensitive medical conditions people suffer, they would prefer having their checkups done online than physically by a doctor.
Some people complain this process can be uncomfortable, so they opt for having an online doctor do their checkups. While a registered online pharmacy will strive to keep your information private a rogue online pharmacy will be happy to sell your private information for anyone with the money.
The sale and use of counterfeit drugs is a growing problem globally, and unregistered online pharmacies are playing a role in its rise. In 2010 more than $75 billion of counterfeit prescription medicines were sold worldwide; that is some scary figure. Taking counterfeit prescription drugs can be particularly dangerous.
You May Get a Diluted Drug
Any type of medicine can come from a fake online pharmacy including a watered down liquid drug. Fraudsters who run these fraudulent online pharmacies can dilute these medicine to increase the quantity they have to sell. More drugs to sell means more money for them; both at the detriment of the patient.
For tablets and capsules, you might order a larger dose and receive a smaller one. A watered down drug or one with a lower dose would not work as it ought to. They would not give you the expected result because it is only a portion of the dosage you should be taking. This can slow down the pace of your recovery.
You May Get an Expired or Bad Drug
Along with counterfeit drugs, getting bad or expired drugs is another reason why you should beware of unregistered pharmacy. We earlier advised that you be careful of online pharmacies selling medicines very high discounts. Expired or bad have lost their effectiveness, and as such are very inexpensive.
A lot can contribute to the spoilage of a drug, one of these is storage. If a drug is stored below or above the required temperature, it can be damaged. If the online pharmacy is unregistered, it could also mean they are unaware of this fact.
Every medicine is created with a ‘best before’ date. If you the drug after this date (or one damaged by improper storage) you would be spending your money and risking your health on a drug with little to no therapeutic benefit.