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How to Choose an Online Pharmacy

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Using online pharmacies can be super quick and convenient. You’re also able to order your prescriptions more discreetly compared to going into a pharmacy or drugstore. 

With the rise in the price of prescription medications, many people have turned towards online pharmacies. If you’re new to online pharmacies and are feeling a little unsure of how to go about picking one, you’ll be left feeling more confident by the end of this article. 

Before you go ahead and choose an online pharmacy to start ordering your medications from, you’ll want to check several things off your list to ensure that they’re a trustworthy source. 

What are the potential dangers of online pharmacies?

When it comes to ordering prescriptions online for the first time, there are several dangers to keep an eye out for. Some of the possible dangers from ordering with untrustworthy online pharmacies include the following: 

  • Prescribed medications may not be approved
  • Counterfeit medications may be being sold 
  • A medical professional doesn’t need to be present for prescriptions to be sold
  • The wrong prescriptions could be delivered 
  • Your personal information, such as payment details, may not be adequately protected 

The FDA is the regulatory board in the US that’s responsible for monitoring prescription drugs. However, it can be difficult for them to try and keep up with the legitimacy and safety of prescribed drugs being imported. 

If you’re on a website that hasn’t been FDA-approved, you can take it as a warning sign that it may not be the best option. Online pharmacies that operate without FDA approvals are more likely to send you counterfeit items, or even take your money and not send the order at all. 

How to find a legit online pharmacy

Finding the right online pharmacy enables you to legally order prescription drugs online. Having said that, numerous online pharmacies don’t follow all of the legal restrictions. 

Before making a purchase, be sure to contact your health insurance provider. If they can provide coverage for prescriptions, see if they can give you a list of trusted online pharmacies. 

This is because health insurance providers only accept online pharmacy supplies if they follow the legal guidelines. So, they can point you in the right direction to help you find a trustworthy online pharmacy. 

Moreover, just because an online pharmacy isn’t on the list of recommendations given by your healthcare insurance provider, it doesn’t mean that they’re not legit. There are plenty of legit online pharmacies operating that simply aren’t in business with healthcare insurance providers. 

Another step you can take to keep yourself protected when purchasing prescribed medications online is to see if they require a prescription from a doctor. If the online pharmacy you’ve chosen doesn’t need a prescription signed by a doctor, it’s more likely to be illegitimate. 

Online pharmacies that ask you to provide them with a doctor’s prescription are going by the books and more legitimate. 

If you notice that the prices for your usual prescribed drugs are a lot lower than when you buy from the pharmacy, this could be a sign that they’re not legit. There are many online pharmacy services, such as GetDealRX.com, that provide RX coupons that you can use to save money online. 

Double-check that the online pharmacy you’re using has a real address. Many illegitimate pharmacies claim that they operate in a certain country but don’t provide an address. If an online pharmacy has a real address, it can give you peace of mind in knowing that they’re real. 

How to know if an online pharmacy is verified

There are some elements of an online pharmacy that you can take note of to make sure that it’s fully verified. Many online pharmacies aren’t in compliance with the federal laws within the US, but there are still great choices available. 

If the online pharmacy you’re interested in using is verified by any of the following, you can feel more confident in knowing that they’re verified. 

  • NABP. The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy is an association that provides online pharmacies with a VIPPS credit. The VIPPS credit is the Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites that legitimate online companies can put on their website to let you know that they’re verified. As a result, you’re protected when it comes to your information.
  • FDA. The FDA and NABP work together to provide the VIPPS badge to online pharmacies. When you see that an online pharmacy is FDA-approved, it means that they are properly licensed to operate and sell prescribed drugs. 

Under the FDA regulations, it’s illegal for an online pharmacy to import drugs that aren’t approved. So, you can feel more assured knowing that an online pharmacy with the FDA badge only offers prescribed medications that have been approved. 


Since there are more and more online pharmacy websites springing up, it can leave people confused about which ones to choose. Hopefully, you’re able to have an easier time knowing some of the elements that separate a legitimate and illegitimate online pharmacy to pick ones that are fully verified and safe. 


Image credit: Freepik

James Wallace has been an advocate for mental health awareness for years. He holds a master’s degree in counselling from the University of Edinburgh.

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