We Know: 5 Rules for Buying Prescription Drugs Online

Thinking of trying to buy your prescription drugs online? Wondering how to minimize the risks, and avoid dangers?

The Internet offers a wealth of opportunities and some problems for people who want to buy prescription drugs. You want to avoid getting fake prescriptions and outdated or substandard medications.

We checked with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to get some quick advice on how to shop safely.

Rule #1: First, get your prescription by seeing a real, live doctor.

DONíT buy online from sites that offer to prescribe a medicine for the first time without a physical exam by your doctor or that sell a prescription medicine without a prescription. This could lead to both an inappropriate diagnosis and inappropriate medication.

Rule #2: Use a legitimate online pharmacy.

How can you tell if a website is legitimate? Well, these sites always require a prescription from your doctor or a legitimate healthcare provider. They also verify the prescription before dispensing the medication. A written verification policy is usually posted on the site.

Rule #3: Use a pharmacy that provides access to a licensed pharmacist.

This helps assure the website is legitimate and provides a way for you to get answers to questions you may have about your prescription.

Rule #4: Check to see if the online pharmacy is licensed.

Look for sites that display the MABP VIPPS (trademark) seal. These sites meet all applicable state and federal requirements. The letters stand for the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Site.


Pharmacy websites are licensed by individual states, so you can also check with either your state board of pharmacy or the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy.

Rule #5: Safeguard your privacy and security.

Donít provide any personally identifiable information (social security number, credit card, and health history) unless you are confident that the site will protect them. Make sure the site does not share your information with others without your permission.



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