Are you hoping to save money on prescription drugs and thinking about using an online pharmacy website?
It’s no surprise: Americans spend more than $300 billion every year on prescription drugs. It makes sense to try and save money in any way possible, including navigating the myriad online vendors that guarantee to sell your drugs for a small amount of the costs you’re right now paying. However, with all the media buzz and online options, it tends to be difficult to know how to proceed - beginning with whom you can trust.
The following are the top 10 things you should know before you start using an online pharmacy app or website:
What is an online pharmacy and how does it works
Simply put, an online pharmacy is an Internet-based vendor of prescription drugs, and the term includes both legitimate and illegitimate pharmacies. Online pharmacies can sell drugs less expensive than drugstores since they can serve enormous clientele from one central medical store database and cut out the expense of a network of local pharmacies.
In the case of foreign online pharmacies, drug costs in different countries are less expensive, so the potential for savings is considerably more prominent. This is because the Food Drug Administration (FDA) and U.S. don’t regulate drug prices, however, most other countries do. As a rule, the free-market price of a drug in the U.S. is higher than the value cap in other countries.
What the FDA says about online pharmacies
The role of the FDA is to ensure consumers by regulating consumable products. No law unequivocally prohibits importing prescription drugs from other countries, so long as they are not controlled substances and the purchase is finished with the knowledge and endorsement of an authorized physician. Even so, the FDA prescribes against purchasing drugs from different nations because their safety can't be confirmed and because buyers who have unfavorable responses have no recourse against the manufacturer.
Since 2008, the FDA has caught and held onto various drugs ordered by illegal online pharmacy apps through the mail. These busts were annual crackdowns called Operation Pangaea, done in collaboration with 110 different countries through INTERPOL, an international police organization. Operation Pangaea VII, which brought about the seizure of 19,618 packages worldwide ordered from illegal epharmacies, lasted one week during May 2014; 583 of the packages were seized in the U.S. alone. During that week, the FDA additionally identified 1,975 U.S.-based sites selling drugs illegally and shut them down.
The FDA gets serious about different agencies for promoting unlawful websites, as well. Back in 2011, the FDA sued and settled with Google for $500 million for Google’s placement of unlawful Canadian online pharmacy ads. Many people trust Canadian pharmacies, yet buying drugs from other countries isn’t always legal, and the FDA doesn’t permit U.S. companies to post their advertisements.
How to identify an illegal online pharmacy?
TAs an ever-increasing number of people are turning towards online purchase of medication, the number of fake doctors and fake pharmacies is likewise increasing quickly. Right now, it becomes crucial for you to recognize illegal online pharmacies that sell drugs without prescription, unauthorized drugs, and counterfeit drugs, and may put your data in danger.
To see if an online pharmacy store is registered and eligible to dispense drugs, you can do the following:
- You should check the registration number of the online pharmacy and cross-check it at the regulatory body website. The names of fake online pharmacy stores will be boycotted by the regulatory body.
- You should search online for any grievances lodged against a specific online pharmacy. If you discover any suggestions or warnings, you should step back from purchasing your medicines from that pharmacy.
- You ought to likewise check for the physical location for the online pharmacy app’s store. If you’re not able to find out a proper address or if the address provided doesn’t exist, you should never purchase your medicines from that pharmacy.
What is legal?
It is certainly legal to buy drugs through a U.S.-based online pharmacy that has been certified by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP). The NABP is an impartial professional association that supports state pharmacy boards and is recognized by the leading pharmacy authority – FDA.
Some online pharmacies that aren’t verified by the NABP have been checked by independently-owned LegitScript, which likewise certifies online pharmacies. LegitScript is recognized by the NABP as recognizing safe practices and complying with federal law; it affirms just U.S.-based online pharmacies. Unlike the NABP, however, LegitScript doesn’t require a fee or application from pharmacies for verification. Accordingly, LegitScript may confirm a few pharmacies as legitimate which is not ensured by NABP because they have not paid the fee.
What the research says about online pharmacies
Two significant studies have been done to evaluate online pharmacies. The latest was conducted by NABP in September 2013, which found that 96.7% of online pharmacies offering to U.S. citizens were "maverick," which means they didn’t follow U.S. laws and regulations. The report covered 10,642 pharmacies, and just 90 were seen to be legitimate, with another 258 classified as potentially genuine.
The National Bureau of Economic Research did a more detailed study in 2012 and gained samples of five basic brand-name prescriptions such as Lipitor, Celebrex, Nexium, Zoloft, and Viagra. Some of the discoveries include:
- All of the U.S. pharmacies required prescription verification, contrasted with 67% of foreign pharmacies and 90% of Canadian pharmacies. The researchers found that 10% of the drug samples were not what they requested, including those where a generic had been sent rather than a name brand. This was valid for 9%of certified Canadian pharmacies, 3% of certified U.S. pharmacies and 18% of uncertified pharmacies.
- They confirmed the FDA’s claim that numerous uncertified pharmacies claiming to be Canadian shipped from other countries.
- Of the drugs that matched the prescriptions, 100% conveyed by Canadian pharmacies, 100% of those conveyed by certified U.S. pharmacies, and 89% delivered by uncertified online pharmacies had the right active ingredient.
- All of the fraudulent prescriptions delivered were for Viagra.
- Overall, the specialists concluded that even though there are many rogue pharmacies online, a blanket ban against ensured Canadian pharmacies isn’t justified and may prevent extensive savings for consumers, since those drugs were 49% less expensive than U.S.-bought drugs.
Not every online pharmacy is the same
Because drug costs are so high in the U.S., many people look to save money by buying drugs online, however, there are a great many alternatives. Many of these online pharmacies are legal and authentic, yet most are not.
Illegitimacy implies that nobody is holding the pharmacy in check to guarantee it complies with laws and regulations, also sending the right product. These pharmacies are considered to be fake, and the vast majority of them are situated in different countries — or claims to be.
Fraudulent pharmacies are popular and so are their dangers. Some may very well send you a non-U.S. version of your drug, incorrect dosage or a generic when your doctor has recommended a brand name. Other times, labeling is missing or incomplete, so if you request more than one drug you may not know which will be which or how to take it and what foods to avoid.
At times, you may get an unexpected drug than you were initially prescribed or a sugar pill with no active ingredients at all.
What about purchasing medications from online pharmacies in other countries?
Well, you can see many advantages of buying drugs from online pharmacies in other countries, but it’s not recommended. The online pharmacies that sell drugs globally from different nations will still need to maintain the local law of the country they are selling from.
In any case, not all countries have stringent guidelines for e-commerce or so far as that is concerned, selling drugs online. Hence, you may never know the quality of the drugs that come in and this is a tremendous hazard to take just to save some money from purchasing drugs.
Guidelines for safely purchasing drugs online
To guarantee your safety and security of your data online, here are some best-practice guidelines:
- To be certain pharmacies adhere to stringent safety and quality standards, check for NABP-certified or CIPA-certified pharmacies.
- Regardless of whether the website says a pharmacy is certified, you have to cross-check against the CIPA or NABP websites or start from there.
- Check the privacy and security policies — they ought to be easy to read and understand. Illegal pharmacies will frequently sell your data.
- Ensure the site has a physical location listed and a phone number you can call to talk to a pharmacist.
What are the security concerns?
The low prices of medications available from third world countries draw many Americans in; however, the security risk of your data and even the drugs that you are getting should be considered before giving them any of your data.
According to the FDA, 40% of the drugs available online from Mexico were counterfeit, making them a futile purchase for you. India’s laws on drugs are exceptionally inadequate making them difficult to regulate and there are no laws on eCommerce in India making you entirely powerless against having your data stolen.
How do you know if the online consultations from online pharmacies are from a certified pharmacist?
Many online pharmacies currently furnishing online consultations and deliver drugs with prescriptions to your location. While it can seem to be an easy option to get everything done from your home, how might you realize that the pharmacist who prescribed you the medications is certified to do so as such in any case?
Similar to the checks for the registered online drug stores, you can get the enrollment number of the pharmacist and check for their registration.
We at EMedStore (A leading mobile app developers for pharmacy shop) empower pharmacists to build their legitimate online pharmacy store and provide excellent services to their customers. If you are looking to build chemist app development or need all medicines database, please contact our experts today by simply dropping an email on [email protected]