No less than 35,000 pharmacies are available online, and not all of them comply with the laws and standards for the establishment of online pharmacies. Although online pharmacies offer multiple benefits over regular brick-and-mortar pharmacies, we cannot deny that so many of these online pharmacies operate illegally. We feel there is a need to address some of the most frequently asked questions about the credibility of Internet-based pharmacies.
- Are online pharmacies safe?
According to the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP), there’re roughly 35,000 active online pharmacies. Out of this number, only a few (5%) comply with the laws and practice standards of online pharmacies.
Legal online pharmacies such as Canada Drugs are safe; they offer a high level of privacy and convenience, and make prescription medications easily accessible. However, many unsafe online pharmacies operate illegal businesses. They sell medicines even without prescription at much-discounted prices. These pharmacies are managed by quarks that prey on customers and sell counterfeit drugs which are potentially unsafe and ineffective.
- Who regulates online pharmacies?
The truth is it’s completely impossible to control the volume of illegal online pharmacies. But some organizations voluntarily accredit legal online pharmacies. You can contact any of these organizations if you are trying to establish a legitimate pharmacy. Some of the organizations include General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC), Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), and Care Quality Commission (CQC). These institutions keep records of all the online pharmacies they have accredited.
- Does NABP regulate online pharmacies?
The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy does not regulate online pharmacies. NABP only issues VIPPS certification. VIPPS is a certification program that implies that the online pharmacy is legitimate and also operates a licensed facility exercising competent interstate pharmacy practices.
- The VIPPS Program; what is it?
VIPPS stands for “Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites.” The VIPPS program, as well as the associated VIPPS approval seal, provides a source of assurance to the public that those online pharmacies are fully licensed. An online pharmacy must pass the rigorous inspection and criteria review of NABP before it becomes VIPPS certified.
- What are some tips to help identify safe online pharmacies?
Legally established online pharmacies are safe and can easily be identified. An online pharmacy is considered safe when it future the following characteristics.
- Require a valid prescription from a licensed healthcare professional before they accept your order.
- Has a licensed pharmacist available to answer customers’ questions.
- Provide contact information (mail and phone number) and physical address in the country where the pharmacy is operating.
- Do I have to pay shipping charges when ordering prescriptions online?
Regular home delivery services should be free. However, if your medication requires special handling, some extra charges may be applied for the additional services.
One of the most important benefits of online pharmacies such as Canada Drugs is the ease with which the public can access prescription medicines at affordable prices. However, it’s crucial to verify that the online pharmacy is safe before purchase. The above FAQ can help you identify a legal online pharmacy to use.