Canadian online pharmacies often have much lower prices for the same generic and brand-name prescription drugs found in U.S pharmacies. While this is often due to market dynamics and regulations in the country of origin, sometimes the prices can be too good to be true.
How can someone tell what is a legitimate pharmacy and what is a scam? Here are some helpful tips to tell which is which.
1) Check to make sure they are certified by CIPA
CIPA (Canadian International Pharmacy Association) is a third party organization that ensures online pharmacies follow the regulations of the industry. CIPA certification is only available for websites that adhere to their strict guidelines and requirements. Online pharmacies without this certification may not qualify due to safety or quality concerns.
Unfortunately there are some websites that cut corners or may not use regulated supply chains or pharmacies. They are generally not a safe place to order your prescriptions online.
2) Make sure they do not carry controlled medication
It is illegal to send controlled substances from Canada to the U.S. Even if you have a valid prescription for necessary medical treatment, it must be purchased locally. These are mostly drugs for pain, stimulants or sleeping medication.
While medically helpful when used properly these drugs can be abused. Hence why the supply to individuals must be regulated.
Aside from controlled medications, some products cannot survive international shipping such as insulin. If you see an online pharmacy that is selling these types of products, they are not getting medication from safe and reputable sources.
3) Ensure that they have a pharmacist available for counselling.
Medication works best when it is used properly. It’s very important that you have access to a medical profession that can instruct you on how to take it. The product may interacts with your other drugs and you may sometimes need medical advice.
Individuals always need to make educated medical decisions and they cannot do that without professional assistance. Your doctor cannot always be available to you. Therefore the provider of your medication has a responsibility to make you informed about your prescription drugs.
If a website is providing medication to you but will not have a pharmacist available for counselling, they are not a legitimate online pharmacy.
Can you imagine getting your prescriptions from a store that doesn’t have a pharmacist available? It’s no different when ordering online. You can ask for counselling either through E-mail or over the phone. If they decline to provide medical counselling you should look somewhere else.
4) Avoid websites that will send out medication without a prescription.
Nobody likes going to the doctor but you need one to get a valid prescription. Licensed pharmacies cannot fill “prescription required” drugs without proper documents. Even if it is heart meds or inhalers, they may not be safe to use unless your doctor clears it for you.
The medicine may have side effects, adverse reactions or the medication may not treat your symptoms. There are many reasons why it’s important to have a prescription for your drugs. Any online pharmacy that sends medicine that is not recommended by your doctor, is ignoring all of the potential health consequences
5) Make sure their website is secure.
You should make sure that every website you visit is secure. To the left of the URL you should find a padlock in the “locked” position. This tells you that the website is secure. Additionally, the website should provide details on what type of security it uses.
It should use Secure Sockets Layer (SSL version 3.0 or higher). Its credentials and active status should be indicated on the front page.
This security ensures that your online purchases and personal information are securely encrypted and that the website values your security. It also prevents harmful software from infecting your devices.