After an expensive visit with the doctor, a prescription can be hard on your budget. You may not have the cash you need to get this essential medication if you don’t have a little savings tucked aside.
Like many cash-strapped people before you, you may have heard you can get a better deal on medication online.
Virtual pharmacies offer significant savings on medication and supplements you need to get well, but shopping online comes with its own set of risks. Not all online pharmacies are the same. Some of the worst ones sell counterfeit medication that can cause more harm than good.
What’s the Harm of Shopping Online?
While there are plenty of legitimate online pharmacies out there, some bad apples can pose a threat to your health. Illegal pharmacies are not licensed to sell medication, so they aren’t upheld to the same standards as legitimate drug stores.
These pharmacies can wind up selling drugs in dosages that don’t match what you need — they contain too much or too little of the active ingredient. There’s also a good chance they don’t contain the active ingredient you expect. You might be sold a useless sugar pill, a completely different drug, or — in the worst-case scenario — a medication laced with fentanyl.
The Importance of Buying from a Legitimate Pharmacy
A legal, licensed, and legitimate pharmacy might be more expensive than bogus drug stores. But they come with a guarantee that you are getting what you order. They can only sell approved and safe medicines.
If you don’t have the cash you need to cover the cost of a licensed pharmacy, don’t resort to an unlicensed one. Look into other ways you can pay for urgent, unexpected medication.
One popular way to cover unexpected expenses is with a personal loan. Personal loans fill in for your emergency savings when they fall short of what you need in urgent situations. With your health on the line, affording a new prescription fits the bill.
You can compare small loans online easily from your smartphone or computer, looking for lenders that deposit approved funds into your account as soon as the next business day following your approval. This quick turnaround can help you get the medication you need.
How to Find a Legitimate Pharmacy
A whopping 96% of drug sellers online are operating illegally, according to the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy. Luckily, spotting these illegal setups is easy, provided you know the red flags. Keep the list below at hand the next time you shop for medication online:
- Confirm the seller requires a prescription from a licensed healthcare practitioner.
- Check for a license from your state board of pharmacy. You can use the FDA’s state-licensed pharmacy checker tool here.
- Look for the Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites (VIPPS) seal.
- Throw the pharmacy’s name into legitscript.com.
- Be suspicious of deeply discounted medications. Sometimes, ultra-low prices are too good to be true.
- Locate the contact information for the pharmacy — they should list a physical address and telephone number.
- Confirm they employ a licensed pharmacist to answer questions.
- Shop from familiar drugstores that have brick-and-mortar businesses.
Don’t Bet on Your Health over a Deal
Your health isn’t worth a sale. While a legitimate drug store may cost more, they come with the certainty that you will get safe medication. Keep this in mind if you have to take out a personal loan to afford your prescription.