Buying medications online
Ryan Summerlin May 9, 2013
If I received one online ad for male enhancements, I have received a thousand. Seems the proliferation of online selling/buying is clearly a way of life today … and why not? Buying products (and even services) online can be very effective in today’s world. It allows you to select from a much broader variety of products other than what your local department store might offer, prices may be less as there are fewer overhead costs involved for major retail outlet stores, and the timesaving factor plays an important role for so many people in today’s busy world. Of course, each individual may have his or her own particular reason(s) for shopping online, yet the safeguards required for online shopping affect everyone, regardless of what you are buying; but especially when it comes to purchasing medications.
It is important to understand that there are numerous avenues to purchase medications online; from verifiable online pharmacies to non-legitimate scam operations. The National Association of Boards of Pharmacies has developed a list of such online pharmacies which should offer consistently sound products for sale over the Internet. Such online stores are easily identifiable through the use of the display, “Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Site,” or VIPPS. These stores will generally:
• Require a prescription from your own U.S. licensed physician.
• Have a pharmacist available to answer questions.
• Provide contact information (including the phone number of a person you can talk to) in case you have problems or questions.
The Mayo Clinic has a brief, but thorough, listing of the things you should and should not do when purchasing medications online. Below I have listed the highlighted areas of their list:
Things to do:
• Consult your physician.
• Use a licensed pharmacy.
• Insist on access to a registered pharmacist.
• Read the privacy and security policies.
• Compare prices.
• Be alert for counterfeits.
Things not to do:
• Use a site that bypasses prescriptions.
• Order medication that’s not approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
• Overlook the address and phone number.
• Keep complaints quiet.
Another caution is the location of your online pharmacy. Nearly one-half of online pharmacies are located outside the U.S., and although this does not directly imply that their products are inferior in quality, it could indicate that a certain number of their offerings may not be approved by the FDA. Caution is the name of the game when purchasing anything online, but especially when purchasing medications — they may significantly affect you or your love one’s health; buyers beware.
Judson Haims is the owner of Visiting Angels in Eagle County. He can be reached at: www.visitingangels.com/comtns or at 970-328-5526