FAQ Online

Websites that sell drugs and other pharmaceuticals are commonly referred to as online pharmacies. Many of these pharmacies are legitimate businesses that sell FDA-approved medications at lower prices than what you would find at your local brick-and-mortar pharmacy. However, there are also many unscrupulous businesses that operate online pharmacies with the sole purpose of defrauding consumers.

Here are some questions that consumers frequently ask about online pharmacies, along with answers from the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy® (NABP®).

What is an online pharmacy?

An online pharmacy is a website where consumers can purchase medications and other pharmaceuticals. Many online pharmacies are legitimate businesses that sell FDA-approved medications at lower prices than what you would find at your local brick-and-mortar pharmacy. However, there are also many unscrupulous businesses that operate online pharmacies with the sole purpose of defrauding consumers.

What are the risks of buying medications from an online pharmacy?

There are several risks associated with buying medications from an online pharmacy, including the following:

  • You could receive counterfeit or sub-standard medications.
  • You could receive medications that are not FDA-approved.
  • You could receive medications that are not what they claim to be.
  • You could be scammed out of your money without receiving any medications.

What can I do to avoid being scammed by an online pharmacy?

There are several things you can do to avoid being scammed by an online pharmacy, including the following:

  • Make sure the online pharmacy is licensed in your state.
  • Make sure the online pharmacy requires a valid prescription from a licensed healthcare provider.
  • Do not purchase medications from online pharmacies that are located in foreign countries.
  • Do not purchase medications from online pharmacies that do not have a physical address and phone number listed on their website.
  • Do not purchase medications from online pharmacies that do not have a pharmacist available to answer your questions.

Where can I find a list of legitimate online pharmacies?

The NABP has created a list of legitimate online pharmacies that are accredited by the NABP. This list can be used to help consumers identify safe and legitimate online pharmacies.

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