When it comes to buying any of your medicines from an online pharmacy, it is essential that you buy from the right one. That seems pretty straightforward.
But what does the “right one” look like when it comes to online pharmacies?
There are so many pharmacies out there that this decision can seem a bit overwhelming. You might be thinking that there are so many out there to choose from that it doesn’t matter which one you choose. But it does. Buying from the right online pharmacy can make a big difference in terms of having security for your health, safety, and finances.
Try to Research Potential Companies
Before you choose what online pharmacy that you want to order your medicine through and get it delivered, try your best to look into potential companies with independent research. You want to gather information to determine whether or not a company is reputable. When it comes to healthcare, you want to make sure you are taking necessary precautions to protect yourself, your family, and your finances.
One of the ways that you can research potential online pharmacies is checking for past customer experiences. Look for people who have posted or written about their experiences with online pharmacies. You can learn a lot about a pharmacy’s potential credibility, customer service, and other important characteristics.
If you have any friends or family members who have used any online pharmacies in the past, they can also be a good resource to turn to. And don’t forget, you can always ask your doctor.
Good Manufacturing Practice and Good Distribution Practice
The Medicine and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) offers resources and guidelines to help consumers understand what a legal and ethical online pharmacy should look like.
Two specific regulatory standards that the Medicine and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency uses to qualify an online pharmacy are the good manufacturing practice and good distribution practice.
Good Manufacturing Practice
A good manufacturing practice, or GMP, is a certain standard outlined by MHRA that a manufacturer of medicine is obligated to meet for any and all of their production processes. There are several requirements that make up the good manufacturing practice standard.
One of those requirements is that all products must be appropriate for their intended use. For example, if a patient orders blood thinners for a heart condition, he or she shouldn’t be given asthma medicine. Another requirement is that all products must be of consistently high quality. Finally, products must pass product specification or marketing authorisation.
Good Distribution Practice
In addition to the good manufacturing practice, online pharmacies also have to meet the standard for the good distribution practice or GDP. The good distribution practice requires that pharmacies get their medicines from the licensed supply chain. It also requires these medicines to be transported, stored, and handled under proper conditions and environments.
Check with the MHRA
If you are wondering whether or not an online pharmacy meets the good manufacturing practice and good distribution practice, inquire with the Medicine and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency. They conduct inspections with registered and licensed companies. Two other organisations that you can check with about potential online pharmacies are the Care Quality Commission and the General Pharmaceutical Council.
Some Red Flags to Look Out for When Choosing
Online pharmacies that are operating illegally or selling fake products will try their best to come off as normal and reputable sites. But to be a smart consumer, you have to be able to see through fake companies.
Sometimes this can be challenging, because a site might look professional and put together – but don’t let that fool you. You have to try and dig deeper. There are some red flags you can look out for as signs of a faulty company:
Companies That Offer You Medication without Valid Prescription
When you get a prescription from the doctor, that prescription is unique to your health needs and medical history. If you get the prescription from a trusted healthcare professional, that professional has taken the time to prescribe the medication that they believe will best help you. Sometimes people try to self-diagnose their condition and get medication without a prescription.
One big warning sign of a bad online pharmacy that is following illegal practices is if they offer you a prescription medicine without a valid prescription. If they offer you medicine you aren’t prescribed, then avoid them. Taking medication that you aren’t prescribed can cause serious health problems and side effects.
Anyone that has an email account knows the wide array of spam messages that you can receive on a daily basis. This is one way that unethically practicing online pharmacies can try to trick you. They send out spam emails that look trustworthy. One tip for recognising a spam email is to look for what they’re advertising. If they promise incredibly cheap medication, then chances are they could be trying to trick you.
Pay Attention to Logos and the Register
Before you purchase medication online, pay attention to the logos on an online pharmacy’s website. Logos can be one of the strongest indicators to let you know that an online pharmacy is trustworthy.
If you live in the UK, you can actually identify accredited online pharmacies by a green logo that should have a unique registration number for that pharmacy. The Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain introduced this logo system in 2008 and it is now overseen by the General Pharmaceutical Council, or GPhC. There is also a special EU logo to look for as well.
If you are visiting a pharmacy’s website and click on this logo on your computer, you should be redirected to the General Pharmaceutical Council’s website, and it should show you that pharmacy’s entry in the GPhC’s online register of accredited online pharmacies. You can also go directly to the General Pharmaceutical Council’s website and search within the online register to see if a particular online pharmacy is accredited.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regularly Agency also has an online register you can check.