The internet has revolutionized life as we know it. With a click of the mouse, you can bring up the local news of the day, listen to the latest music, read a new book, or do hundreds of other activities. Many also turn to the internet as a primary way to shop for everything from games to clothes to food and even to prescription medications.
The use of mail order pharmacies has become increasingly popular in the last few years. Some health insurance companies even require their insured to
order many medications online or over the phone to reduce costs. But as
OakRidger.com reports, online pharmacies can present a serious danger. Some companies that pose as legitimate pharmacies are not licensed in the United States. Others are, simply put, not pharmacies.
Many companies that falsely advertise as legitimate pharmacies sell medications that are in some way wrong. You could receive contaminated medication,
expired drugs, or medicine that is either too strong or not strong enough. These companies may store and ship medications under questionable conditions, which could compromise their effectiveness and put consumers at risk.
Even legitimate online pharmacies make mistakes. When using a website and a mail order system, you can still
receive the wrong medicine from the pharmacyor get the
wrong dosage instructions. Online pharmacies may
mistakenly send the wrong person's medication. It can be harder to catch these mistakes as patients do not have to speak with pharmacists to get their medications.
When utilizing an online pharmacy that is not a part of a health insurance plan, make sure the company is licensed and in good standing. The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) has established accreditation processes for both pharmacies and veterinary pharmacies that operate online, known as VIPPS (Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites). Accredited pharmacies follow state and federal laws and regulations. They also fit all of the NABP criteria. The approved pharmacies display the VIPPS seal on their websites.
If you do order medications online and receive them through the mail, double check you have the correct medication before you begin taking it. It might be a good idea to have a clearly printed list from your doctor of all your medications to verify. Be sure you know what the corresponding generic name is for the drug for comparison.