10 Tips for Choosing an Online Pharmacy

10 Tips for Choosing an Online Pharmacy

Online pharmacies have become a popular way to obtain prescription medications today, thanks to their low prices and ultimate convenience. The rise in popularity of these virtual drugstores has resulted in numerous online pharmacies cropping up all over the Internet. We have 10 criteria to help you find the best online pharmacy for your needs.

Physical Location

A legitimate online pharmacy will also have a physical location where medications are delivered and dispensed. The easiest way to verify a physical location is to click on the “contact us” page on the pharmacy’s website. If an address is shown, this pharmacy probably operates out of an actual building. You may also find an address at the bottom of the company’s “home page.”

Pharmacist on Staff

When you find an online pharmacy you are interested in, call the location and ask to speak to a pharmacist on staff. Every legitimate pharmacy should have a licensed pharmacist or physician to dispense medications accurately and answer customer questions. If you cannot contact the pharmacy, or they do not allow you to speak with a physician or pharmacist, look for another company.


Every legitimate online pharmacy will have a valid license from the state or province in which they operate. The license number is often displayed right on the company’s website to alert customers of their legitimacy. Once you locate a license number, call the regulatory agency that issued the license to ensure the number is valid.

Membership Seal

Another indication that an online pharmacy is legitimate is a membership seal from National Association Boards of Pharmacy and it is considered one of the best accreditation agencies in the country. 

Verification of Accreditation

Once you locate the seal, contact the accreditation agency to verify the seal is authentic. Some rogue pharmacies have used these seals fraudulently to inspire consumer confidence without upholding the regulations required for the seal. By contacting the appropriate agency, you can accurately verify whether the pharmacy you are considering has made that accreditation list.

Prescription Requirement

Most legitimate pharmacies will not fill prescriptions for longer than 90 days at a time. They will also require a written prescription from a doctor before dispensing the medication. In addition to the prescription, reputable online pharmacies will request your doctor’s contact information to confirm your prescription. They may even require your medical history to ensure the drug they are sending is safe for you.

Information about Drugs

Look for an online pharmacy that posts ample information about the drugs they dispense, including potential side effects and drug interactions. The more information you receive about the medication you are taking, the more adept you become at handling your illness or chronic condition. This is particularly important with an online pharmacy since you will not be having face-to-face meetings with a pharmacist who can answer your questions or offer advice.

Shipping Policies

Shipping policies vary among online pharmacies, so shop around for the best deal for your needs. You also want to find a pharmacy that ships prescriptions in a reasonable amount of time – usually within five to 10 days, depending on where the pharmacy is located.

Customer Service Contact Information

Reputable online pharmacies provide customer service contact information so you can call or email the pharmacy with questions about your medication or order. Most people prefer a phone number, or at least a live chat option, so that they can speak with a real person about their concerns, rather than waiting around for an email response. If the pharmacy you choose does not offer customer service contact information, you can assume the company is not interested in hearing from its customers – look for another company.

Secure Ordering

This may go without saying in today’s age of Internet shopping, but secure ordering is a must if you will be sharing private information about your medical history as well as your credit card number. Most reputable online pharmacies will provide information about their secure ordering methods, so you can rest assured your sensitive information will remain confidential.

While online pharmacies are often the cheapest and most convenient way to get medications today, it is important to know how to pick reputable companies from fraudulent ones. By following these 10 easy tips, you can rest assured the online pharmacy you choose will be as safe as it is convenient.