Choosing the Right Online Pharmacy: All You Need to Know

Online pharmacies and chemists were once the hippies of the healthcare scene. The shiny, new thing that technology was introducing. Some ten, twenty years ago, most people didn’t entirely trust or even understand online pharmacies. But now, they are an almost indispensable necessity.

With the restrictions placed due to the pandemic, online pharmacies are on the rise. Now, you can quickly get your prescription orders from various pharmacies with just a click of a button.

But this endless variety raises the problem of choice. It’s no longer a matter of which pharmacy is closer or which chemist stockpiles your special supplements. They are all close, and they all have the drugs you need. However, the best online chemist is the one that can provide you with most, if not all, of the advantages online pharmacies have to offer. And they include:

  1. Being in line with Covid restrictions:

This is the most significant benefit that online pharmacies have at this time. They allow you to keep following your drug regimen without breaking Covid protocols. This way, you’re keeping your health safe in more ways than one.

  1. Convenience:

Most online chemists have home delivery services. What is more convenient than having your drugs delivered to you on a sick day? Conventional, walk-in pharmacies can hardly offer that level of ease.

And for the disabled, elderly, or people who live in rural areas, convenience is a literal lifesaver.

  1. Lesser expenses:

Most fully online pharmacies provide prescription drugs at relatively lower prices than their brick-and-mortar counterparts. 

  1. Automatic refills:

Refills have never been easier for patients with repeat prescriptions. With online pharmacies, your drug refills are a click away. The database already has your medical information saved, so your prescription is already available for them to send your medication your way. 

  1. Availability of pharmacists and doctors:

The best online chemist and drug stores have healthcare professionals that are readily available to attend to the requests of their online customers. You would not need to wait long hours just to lay a complaint to a doctor before getting a prescription order.

  1. Medical information of drugs are made available:

Most of these online pharmacies provide links that give more information on drugs, their side effects, uses, etc. This would help patients as they browse through the website. 

  1. Private and discrete:

Online pharmacies are the most discrete form of healthcare. It is convenient for patients who are too shy to talk about their ailments or feel they have embarrassing issues such as acne, hair loss, etc. They can easily communicate with healthcare professionals via emails or chats without feeling uncomfortable.

  1. More extensive range of drug choices:

Online pharmacies always have a wider variety of drug choices for you to choose from. They stock drugs with differences in dosage, brand, price etc. This means that you can find any medication you’re looking for in one place without hassle.

The benefits listed above are the pointers that will help you discover the right online chemist for your needs. However, as with everything internet related, online pharmacies have their cons as well, especially when you don’t opt for the right online chemist. 

These Disadvantages Include:

  1. Inability to thoroughly diagnose the patient’s condition:

Some websites will request that you fill a form or questionnaire so they can get an idea of your ailment. However, without the oversight of a registered practitioner, the online pharmacy might offer you a drug that is not ideal for you or your condition. And this can lead to more complications

  1. Lack of knowledge of patient’s medical history, which could lead to contraindications:

Online pharmacies that do not have the patients’ medical history can give prescription orders that adversely affect the patient. It could be due to an unwanted drug-drug interaction or drug-disease interaction.

  1. Unverified medical personnel.
  2. Patients are sold fake drugs and dangerous drugs.
  3. Identity theft and fraud.
  4. Exposing your computer to malicious malware.

However, specific measures have been put in place to combat these problems. They are:

  1. The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) internet pharmacy logo scheme: Although voluntary, this logo scheme assures customers that they are patronizing an online pharmacy that has met GPhC’s standards. The logo signifies that the online store isn’t just any commercial website, but it is a pharmacy that provides genuine and certified healthcare products and services.
  1. GPhC’s register: Registered pharmacies that meet UK standards can be found in GPhC’s record. All you need to do is search for either the online website’s trade name or registration number to know if it is certified by law. 
  1. CQC ratings: The Care Quality Commission has been inspecting and regulating social and health care services in England since 2009. They are also required to rate online health care services as well. Websites with good CQC ratings are usually up to standard in every ramification.
  1. The NHS website repeat prescription ordering service: The National Health Service (NHS) has made it relatively easy for patients with repeat prescriptions to refill their medications. 

The best part of this service is that healthcare service providers can access the patient’s drug history with the patient’s permission. This would enable them to prescribe drugs that will not have any adverse effects on the patient.

Other tips that could help you stay safe and patronize only the best online chemist and drug stores are:

  • Do not buy from an online pharmacy that offers to sell you a prescription medicine without a prescription order from your doctor.
  • Avoid online pharmacies that offer to sell you drugs that are illegal in the UK.
  • Do not patronize sites that don’t provide information on the company. Information such as contact addresses, privacy policies and security practices should be accessible to you.
  • Avoid websites that claim they have found the “cure” for a particular ailment. These are most likely fraudsters trying to deceive unsuspecting people.
  • If you are not comfortable with the services of an online pharmacy, it would be best not to take the drugs you ordered from them. That is until you have verified its authenticity with a pharmacist you trust.
  • Always report pharmacies’ that you have suspicions about. You could be saving a life while doing so. 

Some of the best online chemists which are accredited by GHPc and the CQC include: Oxford Online Pharmacy, Lloyds Pharmacy and SuperDrug

We’re Rounding Off

All you’ve read till this point ought to have let you understand the far-reaching benefits of online pharmacies. Yes, not all the sites claiming to be online chemists are actually genuine. However, policies and measures are being introduced every day to further assure the safety of the patients and their interests. Very soon, online pharmacies shall be as commonplace as their brick-and-mortar counterparts.