The United States is home to some 67,000 pharmacies. Every year, these facilities dispense about 4.4 billion drug prescriptions.
No wonder the U.S. pharmaceuticals market has become a $934.8 billion industry! What’s more, experts estimate that come 2021, this industry will be worth $1.17 trillion.
But so will the prices of the drugs they sell and dispense. The U.S., after all, is the only Western country that doesn’t have drug pricing regulations. That’s why prescription drugs here are 50% to 80% more expensive than in Canada.
This huge price difference is why many turn to legitimate Canadian pharmacies online. These e-pharmacies not only offer big discounts, but also convenience and privacy. But first, you need to know how to spot the legit ones.
We’ll tell you exactly how to do that, so keep reading!
Check for a Retail Address
When ordering prescriptions from Canada, do so through a retail online pharmacy. These are pharmacies that have both brick and mortar stores and an online drugstore. That means patients can actually go to a physical pharmacy as a walk-in patient!
Having a retail address may give you more peace of mind since you know the pharmacy’s exact location. Patients know where to find them, and so do the authorities.
This doesn’t mean that online pharmacies without retail stores are fakes. But those with a physical store may be your better, safer choice.
Verify the Pharmacy’s Credentials
Buy your prescriptions only from a Canadian International Pharmacy Association (CIPA) member. A CIPA certification means the government has licensed and regulated the pharmacy. Their products have passed product safety testing.
Also, look for licensure from other licensing bodies, like Canada’s College of Pharmacists. Another is approval from the Internet Mail-Order Pharmacy Accreditation Commission (IMPAC).
Check as well for a Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites (VIPPS) seal. This seal means that the pharmacy is a legitimate business.
Ask If You Can Speak to a Licensed Pharmacist
Say you’re one of the 40 million U.S. adults suffering from anxiety disorders. You’re taking Xanax now but would like to know your other options, especially generics.
Of course, your best (and first) source of information is still your own doctor. But you can also use this is a way to gauge the legitimacy of an online pharmacy. When you call the pharmacy, ask if you can speak to a pharmacist for questions about your medication.
A legitimate pharmacy will let you speak to one right away. Having a licensed pharmacist on board is one of the signs they’re a legit business. In fact, they’ll recommend talking to a pharmacist first if you plan to make changes to your meds.
If you encounter a website that won’t let you speak to a pharmacist, that’s a red flag. Stay away from such websites as they’re most likely fake businesses. They’re supposed to be a pharmacy, so a pharmacist should always be available!
Legitimate Canadian Pharmacies Online Always Require Prescriptions
All legit pharmacies require patients to first show their prescription. Even if you’re buying prescriptions from Canada. Unless you send over a copy of it, they won’t process your orders.
Don’t worry though, as you have several ways to send your prescription over. The easiest is to upload your prescription through the pharmacy’s website. Most reputable online drugstores have an Rx uploading tool built-in on their site.
They also have specific email addresses where you can send a scanned copy of your Rx. Faxing your prescription is also a legal and quick way to show them this document. You also have the snail mail option, although that’ll take a long time.
But what if you need to order affordable diabetes drugs now but you don’t have your Rx with you? Then make sure you leave your doctor’s contact information with the online pharmacy. The pharmacy’s staff will call your doctor to request your prescription.
Whereas rogue pharmacies will sell you drugs even without seeing your prescription. They won’t ask you to send them a copy of this document and may even tell you that you don’t have to. They may even offer to write you a prescription.
Selling prescription drugs without a prescription is illegal, both in the U.S. and in Canada. Also, only licensed telemedicine doctors can write prescriptions online. A website telling you otherwise is likely a fake or rogue pharmacy.
Ensure the Website Uses Security and Encryption Technology
Reputable online pharmacies make use of the latest in digital encryption and security. For instance, there’s GeoTrust SSL, which is one of today’s best encryption technology. This provides one of the highest levels of security to websites.
If you can’t find any logo or information about the site’s security measures, stay away from it. It may leak or even expose your sensitive information to hackers.
Legitimate E-Pharmacies Have a Strong Online Presence
Aside from the website, look for other platforms where you can find the pharmacy. Google My Business should be one of them, as it displays the exact location, contact info, and even reviews. You’ll also see photos of retail pharmacies uploaded by actual consumers.
You should also check their ratings and reviews on Facebook if they’re on this social media site. Read as many of the reviews as you can, so you can have a better idea on the pharmacy. You’ll learn about their prices, quality of customer service, or if they’re even a legit business at all.
If the Price is Way Too Good To Be True
Then it most likely is. We mentioned that Canadian prescription drugs can be up to 80% cheaper than U.S. drugs. But if it’s even cheaper than that, then that may already be a sign you’re dealing with a fake business.
Don’t buy from these websites because they may be cybercriminals. They’ll only steal your identity and financial information.
Don’t Buy Before You Verify
Follow these tips, and you’ll have no problems finding legitimate Canadian pharmacies online. So long as you know what to look for, you won’t fall victim to fake business and rogue pharmacies. Also, if you do find a scam website, be sure to report it!
Want even more tips to make your prescription drugs even more affordable? Then check out our guide on the best money-saving hacks when buying prescriptions!