Online pharmacies have become increasingly popular over the past several years. And once COVID-19 became a global pandemic, even more patients took advantage of these pharmacies, which operate online and send prescription medications to patients via mail.
During the pandemic, individuals were hesitant to leave their homes to address medical concerns. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that in the first three months of the pandemic, by June 30, 2020, because of concerns about COVID-19, an estimated 41 percent of U.S. adults had delayed or avoided medical care. Similarly, individuals didn’t want to leave their homes for medications, and many turned to online pharmacies to fill their prescriptions instead of visiting community drug stores.
Now that the pandemic is largely behind us, many patients continue to use online pharmacies for the benefits they provide. Patients who use this option don’t have to travel to and from their local drug store or wait in line for their order. Medication is conveniently delivered right to your door. Online pharmacies can sometimes offer less costly drugs, and protect confidentiality and privacy that may not be possible by visiting a brick-and-mortar location.
Selecting an online pharmacy can be tricky. There are many to choose from, and they are definitely all not the same. Here’s what to look for in an online pharmacy.
- Make sure the pharmacy complies with U.S. laws and standards. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), at any given time, there are roughly 35,000 active online pharmacies operating in the U.S. The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) say that only approximately five percent of those websites comply with U.S. pharmacy laws and practice standards as certified by accreditation organizations like URAC (Utilization Review Accreditation Commission).
URAC is a Washington DC-based non-profit organization that helps promote health care quality by providing health care organizations with renowned accreditation and certification programs that set the highest standards in quality and safety. Learn more about URAC’s mission here.
- Beware of sites that offer deals that seem too good to be true. Avoid sites that allow you to buy medication without a doctor’s prescription, offer cheap prices that seem out of line with what you’re used to paying and are not licensed by a state board of pharmacy in the United States. Steer clear of websites that send unsolicited mail or email offering cheap medicine and that say that the medicine ships from a foreign country.
- Ask your health insurer for advice. If your health insurance plan offers prescription coverage, ask your insurer to supply a list of approved online pharmacies.
- Check the FDA’s BeSafeRx site. The FDA offers resources and tools to help patients make safer and more informed decisions when purchasing prescriptions online.
- Look for special services. Some online pharmacies, like PersonalRX, offer features and special services that add value, such as 24/7 pharmacist support. Personal RX not only is a safe, reputable, pharmacy licensed in all almost all 50 states, but also assigns a personal care coordinator to help you keep track of your prescriptions and communicate with your healthcare providers. Personal RX also creates custom pill packs that group multiple medications into packages for convenient dosing.
Read this Patient eBook to learn more about what sets PersonalRX apart from other online pharmacies and how its pill packs can add even more convenience to the online pharmacy experience.