How to Spot a Dubious Online Pharmacy

There are many apps and websites available these days that can help you write prescriptions and even get prescriptions for things like birth control or some antibiotics. They are convenient, cost and time efficient, and easy to use – but are they really on the rise?

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What to expect from online pharmacies?

You have definitely heard of one, whether you were aware of it or not. There are Hims and Hers, two different internet brands from the same company, which provide, respectively, things like erectile dysfunction and hair loss treatments or birth control. They also offer cures for depression and anxiety, skin and more. Nurx is known for its contraceptives; Wisp will help you if you think you have a urinary tract infection or bacterial vaginosis; and Blue Chew also offer erectile dysfunction medications. Bicycle Health and WorkIt Health are among those that offer drug treatment for substance use disorders where available.

With these services, you log in and, in most cases, communicate with a licensed provider right on your phone. If they write a prescription for you, it may be sent to your pharmacy or even directly to you. In short, there is no need to go to the doctor, wait in the waiting room, face-to-face contact, and perhaps even a trip to the pharmacy. The convenience provided here is truly astronomical, especially if you’re trying to keep your medical purchases under wraps .

What are the disadvantages?

The Food and Drug Administration has devoted an entire campaign to educating consumers about online pharmacies to understand just how big these things have become. The first thing you should do if you plan on using one of these services is to check the FDA directory , find your state, and make sure it’s licensed. If it’s on the list and you want to continue, make sure it requires a doctor’s prescription, contains a U.S. address and phone number, and has a licensed pharmacist on staff who can answer any questions you may have.

According to the FDA, there are several signs that you should stay away from certain online pharmacies. Do not use it if it meets any of the following criteria:

  • It does not require a doctor’s prescription.
  • It is not licensed in the US and by your state Board of Pharmacy.
  • He does not have a licensed pharmacist available to answer questions.
  • He ships a drug that looks different than what you get at your local pharmacy.
  • He sends medicines that come in broken or damaged packaging, in foreign language labels, without an expiration date, or expired.
  • It has prices that “seem too good to be true.”
  • It charges for products you didn’t order or receive.
  • It does not provide clear written protection for your personal and financial information.

The websites of each telemedicine company and associated pharmacy must clearly state whether they are honest. For example, Wisp advertises that its medical staff and pharmacies are certified to operate in all 50 states. However, check for yourself to be sure. After saving some money on a prescription, don’t buy counterfeit or expired medicines.

Some online pharmacies also exist without a telemedicine component, such as Capsule or Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Co. Always independently verify that your pharmacy can operate in your state and complies with all laws.

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