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3 Reasons Why You Should Never Internet-Shop for Drugs

Aug 31, 2016 02:00PM ● By Cate Reynolds

The Bargain You WON’T Find Online

By Lisa J. Gotto

Never has the Latin term caveat emptor taken on more meaning than when it comes to buying drugs online. And while you may be thinking, “Why not? I buy everything else online” and “It really saves me time and money,” there are convincing reasons why pointing and clicking may not be your best action here.

1. Probably the best reason not to buy your pharmaceuticals online is this: Only four percent of the 11,000 pharmacies currently being monitored by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, or NABP, are lawfully selling drugs on the internet—meaning they are operating according to U.S. laws and standards. (Note: It is illegal to knowingly order drugs from outside the U.S.)

2. Buying from a rogue pharmacy increases the chances you will become under-medicated or receive a botched formulation of your medication, and in this instance, you have no recourse for legal restitution.

3. Buying from a rogue pharmacy puts your personal health information and financial data at risk. At the very least you may open yourself up to a wealth of spam emails from rogues who share your information with others without your consent, and you also run an increased risk of infecting your computer with a virus using these sites.

What to do instead:

Buy online only if you can verify the site’s legitimacy. Look for a “.pharmacy” extension on the web address you’re using, stick with familiar, brand-name pharmacies, and check with the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy at for a list of accredited, legitimate providers.

If you are looking to save money on your meds, ensure that you are getting the generic formulation of your brand name drug whenever possible. Your doctor’s office should be able to tell you about generic availability and note that you would like the generic on your prescription.

Find the best prices on those generics by using online tools like Consumer Reports’ Best Buy Drugs page, or  GoodRx and its accompanying app helps you find the best deal locally on generic drugs and they also offer they own discount club card that can save you up to 80 percent on most prescriptions at most U.S. pharmacies. (Note: The card cannot be combined with other prescription plan discounts.)

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