Online Pharmacy
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Online Pharmacy

An online pharmacy might seem like a newfangled business, but Internet pharmacies have actually been around since the late 1990's. Today, these enterprises enjoy the trust of millions of customers.

There are certain things you should expect from any online pharmacy to which you entrust your prescriptions. The first is that they'll keep all your medical and personal information completely secret. The second is that they will be able to get your drugs to your doorstep in good condition, on time, every time. The third is that they have pharmacists and other medical professionals on hand to chat with you and answer any questions about medications you might have. And these employees should be as courteous and professional to you in their communications over the Internet as you would expect them to be in person. In addition, it can be helpful if a web pharmacy offers a phone number which customers can call to speak to a representative. Some people find that phone calls are quicker and easier, and some customers are simply more comfortable asking their questions over the phone rather than typing them all out.

Don't be shy about asking questions of your online pharmacy, either. You shouldn't take any kind of medication without fully understanding the dosage instructions and the side effects that could occur. In addition, many of these pharmacies will offer free consultations to prospective customers. By all means, take advantage of these sessions. (Just make sure first that these sessions come free of any obligations.) They will provide you a solid indication of the quality of customer relations that an Internet pharmacy provides. You should also ask a pharmacy what their shipping costs are, and if there are any additional fees for using any of their services, before doing business. Compare these fees to other Internet pharmacies so you can make sure you're getting the best deals on prescriptions. At the same time, be wary of drugs that are priced super-low. If a pharmacy offers drugs at prices substantially below their competitors, it could be a sign something fishy is going on with their medication supplies.

And speaking of suspicious pharmacy practices, it's important to be aware that there are plenty of scam pharmacies out there: pharmacies selling stolen, fake, expired or contaminated drugs to unsuspecting customers. Sadly, unlike most kinds of businesses, there may even be MORE bad Internet pharmacies than good ones in operation. Extreme caution and lots of research are therefore necessary when it's time to select a pharmacy.

Fortunately, however, plenty of tools are available to direct you to pharmacies on the Internet you can rely on. In fact, two major governing bodies in the United States evaluate pharmacies and online prescriptions. The first is called LegitScript, which examines pharmacies according to their business practices and either endorses them or labels them as "rogue." The second is called the Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites Program, or VIPPS. This program is actually a division of NABP, or the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy. VIPPS likewise compiles a list of Internet pharmacies that are safe and trustworthy. And VIPPS won't certify an online pharmacy until its members have visited the physical location of the pharmacy and have inspected its operations. No doubt your doctor or your pharmacist will also be able to provide you with a list of acceptable pharmacies as well.

Once you become an online pharmacy shopper, you may wonder how you ever lived without their convenience, and without the privacy they offer. If you have a sensitive condition that you don't like talking about in public, it can be a lot more comfortable to simply click on your mouse and order online prescriptions.

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