It is still undetermined if it is legal or illegal to order from online pharmacies. Because the pharmacy laws are already in place even before the internet was born, there were really no provisions specifically for internet pharmacy transactions. However, since the beginning, it is clear that purchasing medicines, especially the Rx-exclusive ones, without the appropriate prescriptions, is downright illegal. So even without fixed laws for online prescription purchases, it should be crystal clear to buyers that they should always purchase medicines with prescriptions, online or not.
Some online drugstores, despite the prohibition for no Rx medicines, still continue in selling prescription medicines without Rx. These stores are not to blame, though—most of the buyers patronizing these stores actually do so out of desperation—patients are only purchasing these products are often too sick and nearly broke due to medical expenses. Patients with not much of a choice when it comes to their medicines find no Rx online drugstores appealing due to their convenience and rock-bottom prices.
Can I Purchase Medicines Without Prescription?
Legally, customers are supposed to purchase medicines only with prescriptions. However, there are ways around this via online drugstores since there are some online pharmacies offering prescription-less products to help customers purchase their medicines without Rx or at least afford their medication.
A sample of a Store Not Asking for Prescription
Several online drugstores allow customers to purchase prescription medicines even without Rx because they are giving free doctor consultations for their customers. Instead of obliging customers to submit the prescriptions, buyers filled forms for prescriptions for the doctors to evaluate.
A sample of a Store Not Asking for Prescription
In some cases, online drugstores are absolutely allowing purchases without Rx and are asking nothing from customers. Some are merely suggesting that the buyers consult their doctors before ordering from them, but beyond that, these online stores are not requiring something tangible from the customers.
Risks of Ordering Medicines from Shops Not Asking for Rx
Although online pharmacies are supposedly helping buyers afford their medications and give access to otherwise unattainable products, ordering medicines from web drugstores without prescriptions puts customers at risk for a lot of things.
Here are some of the possible negative outcomes of ordering medicines without Rx:
- Buyers may be sent the wrong products – Customers are at risk of receiving wrong items from the online pharmacies they order from. In some cases, medicines are unlabelled, so buyers may be sent the wrong items.
- Fake medicines – Since most of the online drugstores selling medicines without prescriptions are often unregulated, patients are more at risk of receiving counterfeit products from these stores. There’s no way of knowing if the medicines are fake unless the customers send the medicines to a lab for testing, and often, it’s too late for the patients to know that they’ve received fake medicines from the shops.
- Medicines that contain too much or too little of the active ingredients – Patients may also receive medicines that contain the wrong amounts of the active ingredients. In some cases, patients receiving less potent products may not be a problem, but for patients needing the medicines possibly for life and death medical situations like hypertension and heart disease, too much or too little can literally mean life or death.
- Medicines with wrong active ingredients – Apart from receiving meds with the wrong doses, patients are also at risk of receiving medicines with undeclared active ingredients or drugs with the wrong components. Some online stores advertise selling products containing herbal components, but in truth contain active ingredients (for instance Sildenafil Citrate for impotence). Hidden active ingredients can alter how a drug works in the body and may also cause unwanted reactions in patients—saying that these medicines endanger the lives of the patients is an understatement.
- Contaminated medicines – Since buyers are not aware of the origins of the medicines they are sent, they may be receiving contaminated products, for all they know. According to the news, counterfeiters intentionally contaminate products, like for instance, using bacteria-tainted water for an injectable medicine, or “manufacturing” medicines in filthy makeshift laboratories. In some studies, there are medicines identified containing boric acid, cement, hair, paint, and other foreign materials, which further increases the meds’ potential for harm.
- Buyers may get scammed – In the end, buyers are also at risk of experiencing various hazards like getting scammed for their money. Worse, buyer identities are also stolen and used by the scammers to finance their vacations and other purchases.
How do I Find Legitimate Online Pharmacies to Shop my Meds From?
Since purchasing medicines from online drugstores not asking for valid prescriptions is not an option, buyers need to know what else to look for on web drugstores to avoid running into scam sites or stores selling counterfeit products.
Here are some buying tips you may want to consider when looking for a legitimate online pharmacy to fulfill your orders:
- Always read reviews – Reviews are essential if you want to unearth invisible details for an online pharmacy. Third-party reviews, forum discussions, and blog articles about web drugstores can help you determine a shop’s legitimacy and its overall performance.
- Verify the claims – If a store is claiming to be a member of a specific organization, make sure that you confirm these claims first before deciding on using that store.
- Use domain checking platforms – Use domain assessing websites to analyze a store’s web details and to check if the small details like SSL certificate, date of inception, etc. match what is indicated on the stores.
Online pharmacy purchases allowing no prior prescriptions are risky, but buyers do it anyway, mostly out of desperation. Since most patients are without healthcare, insurance, and other support from the government or the private sector, they are forced to put their faith in overseas online pharmacies supplying their meds without the need for Rx. Customers should be careful in choosing which online drugstore to patronize and if possible, do research about them before deciding to purchase.