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Ways to Protect Yourself from Misleading Online Pharmacies

Mar 6, 2008
Buying from an online pharmacy has a plethora of benefits. These benefits have led many patients to make use of the Internet technology, and get their medication online. But as they are not dealing with the physical world, there is a lot of room for scams and dirty trickery. So how does one go about finding a legit pharmacy, while steering clear of all the vice?

Common Indicators of Possible Risk

Generally, online pharmacies that don't have an in-house physician are sketchy. Be sure that if you live in a country that regulates drug prescriptions (such as the United States) that you make sure the online pharmacy is indeed prescribing the drugs. If they aren't, you could be in deep legal trouble. In some cases, arrests have been made over such trafficking.

Another common risk to look out for is a simple survey questionnaire. These surveys can never replace a physician. When a customer needs a prescription drug, they should be contacted by a real physician over telephone, email, or some other means of communication. If this contact is not initiated, a red flag should be apparent in the customer's mind.

If an online pharmacy does not list their physical address or telephone number, it's time to get really skeptical. If they do, be sure to check out the address to see if it is legit. A simple search through the phone book or Internet search can help verify a legit business. If the address turns out to be nonexistent or questionable, be sure to bring the matter up to the pharmacy and demand an answer. In many cases, it's best to simply find a new source of prescription drugs (be sure to warn family and friends of any online pharmacies you find to be sketchy.)

Psychological Risks

One of the trickier risks that consumers fall for is based on psychology. Some online pharmacies will promise a miracle drug, or a better deal than their competitors. This should automatically cause consumers to be skeptical in such situations.

Other online pharmacies tend to put limited time offers on their website. This makes consumers think that they should buy on impulse which is never a good decision. Since these pharmacies are trying to get a consumer to buy without much thought, there is generally a good reason for it.

Licensing Information for Pharmacists

If an online pharmacy can't provide proper information to show they do have a licensed pharmacist on hand, be sure to report them to the FDA. This will help other consumers make good choices, and help put the shady online pharmacy out of business.

The National Association of Boards Pharmacy, or NABP, is one source to go to when trying to figure out if an online pharmacy is legit or not. Check their website for more information before any purchase is made with an online pharmacy.

Final Thoughts on Online Pharmacy Protection

As always, check your sources before making a purchase. Online content is available to match an online pharmacy up with the proper credentials. If you do indeed spot an online pharmacy that seems to be dealing in a shady character of business, make sure the website gets reported. Also be sure to tell family and friends, as it would be very unfortunate if they were to fall victim to an online pharmacy scam.
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