Jun 08 2011

Is It Safe to Purchase Prescription Drugs Online?

(as published in the Syracuse Post Standard, June 7, 2011)

One question I’m asked frequently is whether it’s safe to purchase prescription drugs on the Internet.

Whether you like the convenience or hope to save money by purchasing online, the short answer is “Sure! Go for it!” But that’s followed by some cautionary advice, too.

If you have prescription coverage through your insurer or Medicare, then consider purchasing your prescription drugs online from a pharmacy that works with your insurance. Most of the major pharmacies like Rite-Aid, CVS, or Walgreens have websites where you can, at least, refill a prescription.

Most larger payers also work with mail order pharmacies like Express Scripts, Caremark or Medco.  Each of these companies offers a convenient way to fill or refill your prescriptions on their websites. Some even send refill reminders to your doctor.

Saving money is a big reason to shop for prescription drugs online.  If you don’t have prescription drug coverage, or if you are at risk of falling into Medicare’s donut hole, you’ll want to keep your cost as low as possible.

There are several websites available to help you compare drug prices and it’s definitely worth your effort to do so.  For example, the cost for Lipitor 20 mg finds a range of $85.70 to $284.16 for a 90-day supply.  That can save you $1,200 per year! Find that list of cost comparison websites here:  How to Compare Drug Prices Online.

The biggest cautions are safety-related.  You’ll want to protect your identity, since you’ll need to use your credit card. You’ll also need confidence that the drugs you receive are the actual drugs you ordered and not watered down or counterfeit versions.

The best way to be sure you are purchasing drugs safely is to be sure the online pharmacy you choose has been reviewed by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy. Once they review an Internet pharmacy, it is assigned to one of two lists: either its list of “rogue” pharmacies, those known to be unsafe, or “VIPPS” pharmacies, meaning Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites – the safe sites.

Purchasing your prescription drugs online can be a time saver, a money saver, and is especially helpful for those who have trouble with transportation.  As long as you make sure you’re purchasing from a bona fide safe pharmacy, then it’s a smart approach to purchasing your drugs.

………. ADDITIONAL RESOURCES ON THIS TOPIC ………………

How to Safely and Legally Buy Drugs from Online Pharmacies

How to Buy Drugs from Foreign Pharmacies

How to Compare Drug Prices Online

……………………………………………………………………………………

Want More Patient Empowerment?
Find Hundreds of Articles at:

Every Patient’s Advocate

About.com Patient Empowerment

…and…
sign up for 2x per month newsletters of
Patient Empowerment Tips

……………………………………………………………………………………

1 comment

  1. Great post. I think another way patients can stay safe when purchasing medications over the internet and to avoid counterfeit or adulterated products is to save and compare packaging. If each month’s supply looks exactly the same, you’re most likely in the clear. However, even if something is just a little off, it would be wise to check FDA’s website to see if the drug is on the counterfeit list.

    blog.mbaaudit.com
    http://www.rebeccabusch.com

Comments have been disabled.

%d bloggers like this: