If you suffer from a chronic condition, you know that getting your meds can be a life of death situation.

According to the CDC, about 1/5 of us are paying for our medications out of pocket. On top of this, nearly 10% of people in U.S. aren’t taking our medications as prescribed because they can’t afford them.

Learning to buy meds online seems like the answer. But the FDA warns consumers that buying medications online could put them at serious risk of receiving placebos — or worse — an entirely different drug.

The World Health Organization (WHO) finds that as many as 50% of online meds are counterfeit.

What’s a person to do?

Fortunately, there is a way to safely buy meds online. There are trusted online pharmacies ready to help you with convenient and affordable options. You just need to know how to spot the phonies and the real deal.

We’re going to show you how.

Go With What You Know When You Want to Buy Meds Online

You can find online pharmacies that are associated with brick and mortar stores that you know and trust. If you’re simply looking for convenience and not saving money, then you may be able to buy meds online through their website.

Look for a Certain URL

Another method to buy meds online is to look for a .pharmacy URL. Only pharmacies who purchase this URL extension from the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) can use it.

They issue this extension to pharmacies who have met high standards of excellence in:

  • Canada
  • Hong Kong
  • Great Britain
  • Ireland
  • Australia
  • United States

It’s important to note that there are several reputable pharmacies that don’t choose to go through this additional verification process. Not seeing this extension shouldn’t be a deal breaker. But if you see this extension, you know that you can buy meds online safely.

Verify Whether the Pharmacy Is Licensed

As a U.S. citizen, you’re most likely purchasing drugs from either the U.S. or Canada — or a site that pretends to be from one of these two countries.

But if it’s not a common pharmacy name to you, how do you know if they are legit?

You don’t unless you check a registry.

Here are some common databases that allow you to check out a website:

Watch Out for Redirects

You click on a name that you know or have verified. The price is right. You’re ready to buy. You click to buy and are sent to a different website.

This is a huge red flag. Either the website has been compromised or they’re not as reputable as you thought.

Always check the website address before making your purchase. If the first part of the address changed from when you first arrived on this website, then go elsewhere.

Be on the Look out for Too Good to Be True

Definitely shop around.

Get an idea of what the going price is in the U.S. and Canada. If you see a pharmacy selling well below market, chances are they’re trying to offload some counterfeit or expired drugs at your expense.

Don’t Get Pulled Into “No Prescription Needed”

If you live in the U.S. and a certain drug requires a prescription, then no pharmacy — no matter what country — can legally give you that medication.

It’s illegal for them to send it to you. It’s illegal for you to pick it up and take it across the border. It’s illegal for you to be in possession of it. If from outside the U.S., it will be confiscated when going through customs.

A legitimate pharmacy would not risk losing their license. If you try to buy meds online and they don’t ask for a copy of your prescription, go the other way.

Don’t Think Your Pharmacist Can Also Be Your Doctor

Some pharmacies will offer to write you a prescription. They have doctors on staff, so it seems all legit. But it isn’t.

For one, it’s a conflict of interest. If the pharmacy pays the doctor’s salary, then he/she benefits from writing more prescriptions.

For two, many prescriptions require what is called in the medical field, a face to face. You have to see the doctor in person. FaceTime or Skype don’t count.

Among these drugs are narcotic painkillers, stimulants, sedatives and anabolic steroids.

You could get in serious legal trouble.

Abide By Food & Drug Administration (FDA)

What if you’re buying a non-prescription drug online that isn’t available in the U.S. yet? That’s okay, right?

Even if a drug has been approved by Health Canada (Canada’s FDA), it cannot legally travel across borders.

It will be confiscated in Customs. There are only very rare exceptions on a case by case basis.

Look for A Seal

The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy issues a VIPPS seal of approval to websites who meet its standards.

In addition, be on the lookout for the following seals:

Buy 90 Days Or Fewer

You may think you’ll save money by ordering “in bulk”. But anything over 90 days as determined by your prescription may be confiscated before it reaches you. To buy online safely, keep it 90 days or under.

Use a Reputable Online Pharmacy Comparison Tool

You, like many consumers, are facing the challenges of trying to buy meds online. You search for the best price, then have to verify the website and then after all that, they may still not be who they say they are.

You need a partner in this battle to defeat high drug prices while still getting the authenticity, quality and care you deserve.

We’ve designed an online tool that allows you to easily compare the prices from dozens of screened and reputable online Canadian pharmacies.

We only show you 100% legal FDA approved drugs. Our pharmacies must be:

  • Verified and in good standing
  • Provide a valid pharmacy license
  • Prove that they own the website that will be listed on our site
  • Provide appropriate documentation to support all of the above

Looking for more affordable Lipitor? Choose the drug and your dosage. You’ll instantly see dozens of options with the price per pill right there on the page for easy comparison.

Has your doctor prescribed Xarelto, but you can’t afford to pay nearly $14 per pill? Find a reputable pharmacy that provides it for around $2.50 a pill.

If you’re tired of paying so much for medications, it’s time to start price shopping with trusted Canadian pharmacies. Start your search today.