What are the Best Tips for Safe Online Prescription Ordering?

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  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 07 January 2020
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Online prescription ordering has certainly gained in popularity and there are many reasons why it has. These include that ordering online can be convenient and it may offer some degree of savings, though the latter is not always true. Even with these factors taken into account, there is some risk when people get their medications from the Internet. To offset the inherent risks of online prescription ordering, many safety tips exist to which people may want to adhere.

One of these is to never fail to overlook the importance of licensing. This can be evaluated in several ways. Customers should find out what licenses an online pharmacy holds, and this could vary by region. Things to verify are whether the pharmacy holds a license, and whether it employs licensed pharmacists. It can take a little looking to find these things; perhaps one of the best ways to verify this safety feature is to ask local pharmacists about it or to call a country or state licensing board for verification.

Sometimes online prescription ordering is a “one stop” shop for medications. Pharmacies may employ their own doctors, who will write prescriptions after brief interviews with patients, giving people access to controlled substances without appropriate follow-up care. Many people suggest that any reputable pharmacy will require a prescription from a doctor a person sees first. In fact, they recommend avoiding pharmacies that offer prescriptions for any kinds of pain medications or other addictive medicines like sedatives.


Much discussion occurs regarding drugs ordered that will be manufactured or shipped from another country, and many people recommend only using pharmacies that certify the sale of medications approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This is a little limited, as there are numerous countries that make safe medications. Instead it might be better to state that customers should order from pharmacies that certify medications have been and are approved by an agency in one or more countries that is reputable. The specific agency may vary by region and personal preference.

One very good tip for online prescription ordering is to verify that medications ordered appear to be what was prescribed. It is fairly easy to find images of prescribed medications online to compare with the product that was shipped. Many bottles or additional prescribing information also have descriptions of what pills should look like. If what is inside the bottle doesn’t match up with other descriptions, don’t take the medication. People can often verify with a local pharmacist on what a medication truly is.

A few more things consumers might want to consider are means of ordering and security of personal information. Some pharmacies immediately begin sending refills, and this tactic should be avoided, unless desired by the consumer. Any pharmacy website should also have some guarantee of privacy of personal and financial information. If this isn’t provided and clearly stated, medical and financial information might be for sale to the public.

Lastly, lots of people choose online prescription ordering because they think it will be cheaper. This isn’t necessarily the case. Many local pharmacies have very good deals on generic drugs, and each online pharmacy can have huge price differentials, or discounts on first orders that don’t apply to future orders. Additionally, quite a few people with health insurance get better deals if they order from local pharmacies that have contracts with insurance. Price comparison is wise to determine if drug price plus shipping is really such a good deal.



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