How to Safely Buy Medicine Online


By: , – By Abigail Cuffey, of Woman's Day
  :  2 comments   :  9,669 Views

Fraudulent websites selling counterfeit drugs are popping up daily as more Americans are buying their medications exclusively online. "Fake drugs can be ineffective and contain ingredients with dangerous side effects," says Margaret Hamburg, MD, commissioner of the FDA. To avoid a scam, make sure the pharmacy website you buy from has the following four features.

The VIPPS (Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites) seal. This indicates that the website has been approved by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) and meets state and federal rules. When you click on the seal, you should be taken to the NABP website. If you're not, it could be fraudulent.

Contact information for the website and a pharmacist available to answer questions. You should be able to talk to the site's manager and ask a pharmacist about your medications—either on the phone or via online chat.

A doctor's prescription is required to place an order. Websites looking to make a quick sale don't take the extra step to ensure that your request is legitimate, so make sure the site asks you for prescription information.

An easy-to-understand privacy and/or security policy. The online pharmacy should clearly state that it doesn't sell your personal information to marketers, companies or other sites. Look for these policies at the bottom of the site or in the "about" section.


Come across a website that seems shady? Alert the FDA so it can investigate: Go to and click "Reporting unlawful sales of medical products on the Internet."
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Do you purchase prescriptions online? If so, have you come across any scams?

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  • 2
    Most importantly, make sure your primary care doctor knows what you're doing and fully understands what the medication is and what it does! There's a medication for people with one of my health conditions that is still being approved by the FDA so only a few doctors can legally prescribe it and even less compounding pharmacies are able to make it. Some doctors say 'you should try this medication, but you have to order it from Canada' without knowing the serious complications of the medication. Some people self-diagnose (or are mis-diagnosed by doctors who aren't qualified to diagnose it) then find out about the medication online and think it will solve the problem. They don't realize the medication can actually kill you with side effects. Without being monitored and receiving tests every few months to watch for those side effects the medication is unsafe.

    So there's much more to ordering meds online than just finding a place to order them - you also have to know what you're getting, what to expect, and be under direct supervision of a knowlegeable doctor. - 8/27/2012   10:53:17 PM
  • 1
    thank you for some very important info - 8/27/2012   12:17:47 PM

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