Skip to Content
Home > Patients & Visitors > Health Library > Buying Online Drugs Safely
Buying medicine over the Internet can make life a lot easier. Medicines on the Internet are sometimes cheaper. Your pills are delivered to your door.
Unfortunately, there are many dishonest online drugstores—and it can be hard to tell the honest ones from the dishonest ones. So you need to be very careful when you're buying medicines online.
You can safely buy medicine online if you use online pharmacies recommended by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy. This organization verifies Internet drugstores throughout the United States and most Canadian provinces.
The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy has created a website at www.awarerx.org. You can visit this site to find out which online drugstores are recommended and which aren't.
It's also safe to buy medicine through your health insurance company's website.
Don't trust an online drugstore if:
You could end up buying pills that hurt rather than help.
The World Health Organization found that more than half of the drugs sold online and by places that do not show a physical address were fake. Medicines that you buy online from sources that are not regulated can be either too strong or too weak.
Criminals who sell drugs online have one goal: to make money. So they often focus on medicines that are in demand and not available in a lower-cost generic form.
Many fake drugs are expertly packaged. They look like the real thing, but they may have been made under very dirty conditions. And they may contain ingredients like chalk, sugar, and flour instead of the medicine you need. In the worst cases, a fake pill will contain drugs or chemicals that could harm you.
Other Works Consulted
National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (2011). Internet Drug Outlet Identification Program: Progress Report for State and Federal Regulators. Available online: http://www.nabp.net/programs/assets/IDOI_Report_10-11.pdf.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration (2012). Buying prescription medicine online: A consumer safety guide. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/resourcesForYou/ucm080588. Accessed October 17, 2014.
World Health Organization (2010). Medicines: Spurious/falsely-labelled/falsified/counterfeit (SFFC) medicines. Fact Sheet No. 275. World Health Organization. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs275/en. Accessed October 7, 2014.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerTheresa O'Young, PharmD - Clinical Pharmacy
Current as ofNovember 20, 2015
Current as of:
November 20, 2015
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Theresa O'Young, PharmD - Clinical Pharmacy
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2016 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.
Send Us Your Feedback
North Kansas City Hospital