Buying drugs cheaply online can make sense if you know what to look out for. Here are 7 things to consider before you buy from a cheap online pharmacy.
Buying medications from a cheap online pharmacy seem like walking through a minefield. It’s sometimes hard distinguishing real and fake sites vying for your money and trust.
An incorrect choice could swindle your money. Worse, you could receive the wrong meds, creating a domino effect of worsening health. Still, the allure of cheap meds outweighs the costs of American health care prices.
Are you in a financial bind and considering an Internet pharmacy? Before you click checkout, read these several considerations first.
It’s important to respect and follow your medical practitioner’s advice.
Trained professionals with your best interest at heart. Saving money is good but use research to back your decisions. Forgoing their advice could cause serious health problems.
Important: Talk with your MD or nearest hospital if you are at a point where your health is an emergency. Seek diagnosis and care, not self-medication. Self-medication can turn dangerous to an untrained person.
Let’s explore your options with that out of the way.
The word to remember: due diligence.
Your research is important in finding a reputable pharmacy.
Online pharmacies are businesses and businesses use marketing to cull sales. It’s not uncommon finding yourself on a fraud site, about to share info to shady individuals. This is the Internet, after all.
That said, here are what to consider when sourcing legal online pharmacies.
Yes and no.
The legal status depends on several items like:
- Having a legitimate prescription to submit
- If the examination happen in-person or online
- The pharmacy has a state-issued license
The FDA prohibits ordering prescriptions from foreign countries. Controlled substances are outright banned from importing. But, it’s a gray area when ordering common medications or their generics.
The FDA has exceptions:
- It’s prescribed but not available in the States
- The order is less than a 3-month supply
- It’s declared at customs
- It includes contact info from all parties
A pharmacy passing these requirements can export without complications. Verify the pharmacy does this if planning to buy Canada meds. Or, when ordering from other countries from your research.
This is the tricky part.
There is no governing body regulating the legitimacy of online pharmacies. Plus, countries may use different safety standards and deviations. The risk becomes if your order is merely inauthentic to out-right dangerous.
Use user reviews to better gauge authenticity:
- Listed reviews on the website and through third-party channels
- Posting questions to health forums and social platforms
- Talking with a verified customer, probing questions (if applicable)
Compare a dozen+ reviews to find a median consensus. Do understand it’s not uncommon for businesses to buy their reviews. Learn how to spot fake reviews to protect your money and health.
You should also consider if the drugs are sold at low costs because they are:
Buying meds aren’t like shopping canned goods at a scratch and dent. Unverified meds are dangerous! Don’t fall for sales gimmicks promising cheap meds because they have these “features”.
There’s no telling what can happen if your info gets into the wrong hands. The “business” has no obligation to honor privacy as they’re outside lawful reach. It’s important you research the business as strongly as its product offers.
Look for trust signals on the website like:
- Pharmacy verifications
- Third-party review widgets
- Cybersecurity best practices and seals
Consider using a pre-paid card when ordering as an added security layer. And, never give what feels like too much information like your SSN.
A broken website is a dead giveaway to fraudulent online pharmacies. This could include grammatical errors to irregular formatting.
Other red flags could include:
- Warnings from your browser or antivirus
- Check out pages within frames or lacking SSL security
- Lack of contact details and customer support
- Boilerplate templates and generic branding
- Slow loading pages or broken ones on full load
A real business knows the value of a site, investing money in its appearance. Use your gut, the “seems too good to be true” feeling.
Online pharmacies follow guidelines with marketing as one of these elements. An online pharmacy feeling too “pushy” is a red flag. This means they’re pushing sales versus providing a trustworthy presence.
Aggressive behavior could include:
- Spam emails
- Unbelievable deep discounts
- Pop-ups and pop-unders
- Oddly timed questionnaires
Comparing several pharmacies creates a baseline on how they should act. If the site you’re considering is an outlier then it may be illegitimate.
Your pharmacist will not pitch alternatives, trying to upsell medications. Their job is filling prescriptions determined by your medical practitioner.
Shady online “pharmacists” may attempt an upsell — a huge red flag.
- Being convenient “out” of a script, then offering an alternative
- Recommending higher counts or dosage
- Offering any controlled substances banned for use
Never take their word, only go through your doctor. The upsell can appear subtle so a good rule is backing out if they’re actively approaching you.
The pharmacy supply chain is extensive and convoluted. India and China are where 80% of most drug ingredients get sourced. But, the meds’ manufacturing can take place in several countries along the way.
Look for a pharmacy showing transparency, like:
- Verifying their source and suppliers
- Listing precautions and interactions
- Offering consultation (but not suggestions)
A legit pharmacy will fill details about their business and products. They want customers understanding what they’re purchasing. If the site is sparse on information then it’s likely illegitimate.
You should also have no trouble finding a brand’s presence on third-party platforms. This presence includes social media and industry sites.
The costs of U.S. healthcare have many turning to a cheap online pharmacy to meet their needs. These online pharmacies provide prescription medications at a fraction of State-side costs.
Still, every interested party should do their due diligence. There are many swindlers and fly-by-night operations. Use what you’ve learned in this guide to make a smart judgment if you plan to buy meds online.
Need more health guidance? Check our health blogs for more advice!