If you are looking to buy medications online, you may have researched a bit on online pharmacies and gathered opinions, pros and cons of such pharmacies. You might have by now known that online pharmacies are cost-effective, convenient and private to buy drugs. You might have also known that pharmacy errors can lead to serious mishaps and chronic health problems.
If safety is your primary concern, you have to be wary of counterfeit drugs and ripoff pharmacies. There are numerous buyer guides and pharmacy review sites. One guide may tell you not to trust in foreign pharmacies, another may push you buy low cost drugs from Canadian pharmacies. Which advice will you take? Online pharmacy reviews or guides often lead to confusion. Instead of sailing through doubts, you can check about online pharmacies on state regulatory bodies like the FDA and NABP. Here are some ways on how to spot ripoff online pharmacies using the guidelines given by FDA and NABP.
National Association of Board of Pharmacies or NABP: NABP is an independent, impartial and international pharmacy regulation board that assists member boards and jurisdictions in developing uniform standards for protecting public health and patient safety. NABP regulates buying medications online through internet pharmacies. You can view more of NABP in its website, www.nabp.net. Here are a few NABP guidelines to find counterfeit pharmacies:
1. Recommended Sites: NABP has a list of recommended internet pharmacies on its website. The list includes all the pharmacies approved and monitored by the board. Before buying from an online pharmacy, you can check if the pharmacy has a place in NABP’s list.
2. VIPPS or Vet-VIPPS: VIPPS or Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites and Vet-VIPPS or Veterinary Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites – are two programs by the NABP to evaluate pharmacies selling human and pet medications respectively. If a site is VIPPS accredited, it has a VIPPS seal or label in its pages. VIPPS or Vet-VIPPS involves a set rigorous NABP accreditation process, comprising of a thorough review of all policies and procedures regarding the practice of pharmacy and dispensing of medications over the internet. The NABP site has a list of VIPPS and Vet-VIPPS sites also.
3. Not-Recommended Sites: The NABP website has a list of not-recommended internet pharmacies too. This denial of recommendation or approval is based on the following criteria – pharmacy licensure, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration registration, prior disciplinary actions taken on the pharmacies, pharmacies physical location, legal compliance, privacy practices, customer services, website transparency and affiliated websites, including wrong domain name registration information.
4. LegitScript: LegitScript LLC is an pharmacy verification site whose internet pharmacy verification standards have been approved and authenticated by the NABP. The company’s PharmacyFinder tool facilitates users to find the best internet pharmacy of their choice based on a pharmacy’s authenticity, specialty, payment mode, customer service and a lot of other factors.
Food and Drug Administration or FDA: The United States’ Food and Drug Administration authorizes all the drugs that are sold by pharmacies anywhere in the country. The FDA helps in regulating pharmacies and drug preparation methods by collaborating with other bodies like NABP. FDA has a set of guidelines:
5. FDA’s guidelines: The FDA website (www.fda.gov) offers numerous guidelines to customers on buying medications over the internet. It helps customers identify counterfeit drugs by stating the approval process of drugs. You can check if a pharmacy is using the right drugs by using the catalog of FDA-approved drugs listed in the FDA site.