Over The Counter or OTC drugs that can be bought off the shelf from a pharmacy. They do not require any prescription and are most often taken for common ailments like cough, cold, pain relief etc. It is said that most of the pharmacies make a lot of money with OTC drugs as they are high in cost and often, brand-name drugs. Buying over the counter drugs online is safe and effective if you are clear about the know-how of choosing an OTC drug. Since OTC drugs are sold without prescriptions, pharmacies may offer discounts or offers for over the counter drugs that maybe fake or low in quality. You need to be careful about certain things before ordering OTC drugs for your family or for yourself. Here are a few tips:
1. Consult a doctor: Must if you have no idea about OTC drugs before. This is strictly required if you are on prescription medications already. This is because over the counter medications have to be administered only after physician’s consultation for patient groups like women (who want to be pregnant or are pregnant), women who are breastfeeding, children, adults who have chronic ailments, older adults and people who are on prescription. You can get a complete list of over the counter drugs you may need for 3 months or 9 months from your doctor and then, order them through an online pharmacy.
2. How about generic drugs? After you get your monthly or quarterly prescription for OTC drugs, do a mini-research on the costs of OTC drugs sold on online pharmacies. If you think the costs are not affordable for you, speak to your doctor again. Ask him whether a generic alternative is possible. If he emphasizes on sticking to brand-name OTC drugs, listen to his advice. Instead, if he can give you generic alternatives to the branded OTC medications, well and good. You can save money on your over the counter drugs by buying them online.
3. Search for online pharmacies: The usual rule applies. Search for pharmacies that are licensed and have approval from pharmacy regulatory authorities in their countries. If you have a generic list of over the counter drugs, better to go with a United States based pharmacy. If your list is full of branded drugs, you can probably look for foreign pharmacies are brand-name medications that are cheaper outside the U.S.
4. Check the medical information: Check the products’ information on the pharmacy site before ordering them. Sometimes an online pharmacy may not sell the drug that your doctor prescribed. It maybe selling a variant of that drug. In some cases, OTC drugs with same brand names may have different ingredients or same ingredients in different proportions. Hence, check thoroughly before buying your monthly over the counter stuff.
5. Look for OTC Drug Monograph: Check if the OTC you are planning to buy has been regulated by FDA’s OTC Drug Monograph. OTC Drug Monographs are nothing but recipes for a drug – they detail on the necessary ingredients, dosage, formulations and labeling a drug is supposed to have to be authorized by the FDA. If an online pharmacy sells drugs that conform to OTC Drug Monograph, then you can be assured of your drug’s quality. Generic drugs that do qualify for or conform to the Monographs need to undergo a separate review through ‘New Drug Approval System’.
6. Look for discounts or offers: Since pharmacies are said to make money with OTC drugs, they do not offer discounts for them. But online pharmacies are different. There are many reputed pharmacies which offer discounts on over the counter drugs bought in bulk, say for a 3-month or 6-month supply.
7. Check the Return Policy of pharmacies: Sometimes you get your OTC package and then you find out that some of the drugs delivered by the online pharmacy are not exactly the ones prescribed by your physician. The quantity of ingredients in a drug maybe more or less (in comparison to the one on your monthly OTC list). If that is case, you can easily return the drugs and order for what you want. Since OTC drugs are not like prescription drugs and vary according to the brand and the manufacturer, you cannot be sure of the ingredients until you receive your package. That is why it is wiser to check the return policy of your online pharmacy before you order for over the counter drugs online.