Is It Safe to Fill Prescriptions Online? Everything You Need to Know

The internet is quickly becoming the preferred place for shoppers, with the number of digital buyers surpassing the 2 billion mark worldwide as of 2021. That number will continue to skyrocket in the coming years, thanks to the unquestionable convenience shopping online offers.

Today, you can get just about anything online, from food to clothes to vehicles. But can you also fill prescriptions online? And if so, can you trust this method to be safe?

The fact is, many people are extremely sensitive when it comes to matters regarding medication. A simple mistake can have far-reaching health consequences.

To help shed more light on online prescriptions, we’ve prepared this comprehensive guide. Keep reading to learn more.

Is It Possible To Do Medication Refill Online?

The simple answer is yes. Generally, an online prescription refill is done in one of two ways.

  1. Using an online or mail-order pharmacy
  2. Using the patient portal on your pharmacy’s website

How Do Online and Mail-Order Pharmacies Work?

In this approach, you order your medications online. The online or mail-order pharmacy then mails the medications directly to you. This approach is highly convenient, even for clients looking for unlicensed medicines supply.

How Do Online Patient Portals Work?

Here, you request your prescription refill online. Once it’s filled, you have to go to the physical store to collect your medication. Needless to say, it’s a less convenient way to get your prescription refill than using an online or mail-order pharmacy.

Is It Safe To Fill Prescriptions Online?

Now that it’s clear that electronic prescription refills are possible, it’s time to address the issue of safety. Can you trust online pharmacies to send you safe medication?

There are many legitimate online pharmacies out there, and it’s generally safe to use them. But there are also unethical players in the industry who operate either illegally or in a risky manner. These unethical pharmacies might sell counterfeit, defective, or expired medications.

The secret is to be extremely careful who you deal with and learn to spot potential red flags.

How Can You Buy Medications Online Safely?

While you can always find a safe online pharmacy to buy drugs from, there are also some bad apples out there. To keep yourself safe, you need to take a few precautions. Here are some ways to fill prescriptions online safely.

Avoid Pharmacies That Don’t Provide Contact Information

An online pharmacy that provides no way for you to contact them is a huge red flag. Go to their website and check whether the pharmacy has given their contact information.

Verify that they have a valid address and phone number listed on their website. Try calling the number provided to determine whether it’s legitimate.

Determine Whether They Require a Prescription

Reputable online pharmacies will always ask for a prescription before completing your transaction.

If a pharmacy never asks whether you have a prescription before selling you the medication, it’s a sign that anyone can obtain medication without a prescription. You may want to think twice before deciding to go through with the order.

Make Sure That the Drugs Are Approved

Top online pharmacies only stock drugs that have been approved by the relevant agency. In the UK, for instance, the medications need to be approved by the Medicines And Health Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). If you discover that the drugs you’re about to purchase aren’t approved by the relevant body, it’s a major red flag.

Ask To Speak With a Pharmacist

A trustworthy online pharmacy will usually have one or more licensed pharmacists to answer clients’ questions. Ask whether you can speak with that pharmacist before you make a purchase.

Shun Unlicensed Pharmacies

Never work with a pharmacy that isn’t licensed. In the UK, the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) regulates all pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and pharmacies. The council assures and improves standards of care for people who use pharmacy services.

If an online pharmacy is licensed by the GPhC, it’s a good sign you can trust them to refill your prescription.

Consider Pharmacies in Your Insurers Network

For those who have health insurance, you could always consider working with an online pharmacy in your network, if possible. This way, you’re sure that the pharmacy was already vetted by your insurer.

Beware of Pharmacies Who Make Suspicious Claims

Some sites will advertise a new or quick cure for a serious disorder or a wide array of disorders. They may also include case histories of previous clients claiming miracle cures or medical results. Some go as far as to claim that research scientists or the government have conspired to suppress certain products.

If you notice that your potential online pharmacist makes these or similar claims, avoid them entirely.

Insist on Seeing the Product’s Original Package

If the medication’s manufacturer’s original package is available, insist on seeing it first before you make the purchase. After the product is delivered, inspect the packaging closely once again.

Take note of anything unusual about the package, and don’t use the medication at all if you spot something odd. Have your local pharmacist inspect the product before using it.

Make Your Safety a Priority When You Fill Prescriptions Online

Online pharmacies offer an easy and convenient way to buy medications, especially when the drugs you need aren’t available at your local pharmacy. Most pharmacies are safe to work with, and you can use them with the same confidence you do your regular pharmacy.

But, before you fill prescriptions online, it never hurts to take safety precautions to avoid the bad apples.

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