The COVID-19 pandemic gave emphasis to the practice of buying medicines from online pharmacies, as a better alternative to making trips to a local drugstore. Actually, there are underlying reasons why consumers nowadays are into buying meds online.
Even before the 2020 lockdowns at the height of the pandemic outbreak, hundreds of websites had already established businesses that thrived on selling health products and prescription medications. Still, just like any business found on the Internet, consumers must take precautions against deceptive online sellers.
According to market research firm Cyber Dialogue Inc. Internet drug stores represent the sixth most popular ecommerce niche that people visit online. Nonetheless, the research firm believes that despite the popularity of online drugstores, online pharmacies cannot make the traditional “brick and mortar” pharmacies disappear any time soon.
Although there are no reliable figures estimating the proportion of online drugstore sales that filled billions of medical prescriptions dispensed since 1999, the pharma industry’s estimation is that the figures are still fairly small. Yet the reality is that present conditions have made it more and more necessary for consumers to buy their medicines and other healthcare products online.
The Underlying Reasons Why Consumers Prefer to Buy Medicines Online
Aside from being convenient, there are underlying reasons why a great majority of consumers place orders for prescription medicines at online pharmacies.
1. Shut-in people whose health conditions require or force them to stay indoors, or bar them from travelling a great distance, have been given the ability to purchase medicines on their own.
2. Buying online affords consumers the advantage of comparative shopping especially for medicines and nutrient supplements that are priced highly by brick and mortar pharmacies.
3. Access to broader literature pertaining to product information, references and reviews is also seen as an advantage, over buying at traditional drugstores that spend only limited time in interacting with customers.
4. Maintaining privacy when buying medicine is another benefit when purchasing meds online.
5. Costs saved from buying medicines not only pertain to lower prices offered by online drugstores, but also include the extra costs of transportation or fuel and other unnecessary expenses incurred when children tag along for the trip.
Are Online Drugstores Legal?
Although one of the inherent risks of buying medicine online is the proliferation of unscrupulous sellers, studies show that many are legal sellers. They in fact require presentation of a prescription before allowing an online purchase transaction.
Medical practitioners, Dr. Ronald Iannocone and Bernard Bloom, took the initiative to conduct research about websites that engage in selling medicines online. They found out that the majority of the legit websites are local “mom & pop” drugstores that have set up ecommerce sites that allow them to serve their customers electronically.
Some others are online outlets of large drugstores, while many are actually pharmaceutical companies located outside of the U.S. The latter group, though, is not licensed to offer their medical products to U.S. online consumers. That being the case, they are not authorized to access digital information needed in verifying the validity of prescriptions, particularly for controlled substances.
What these online drugstores do instead is ask purchasers to fill up questionnaires. Purchase approval is based solely on a physician’s review of the information provided as answers to the questionnaires. The researchers also found out that some sites do not strictly require prescriptions for controlled substances.
However, based on our knowledge and experience of buying soma online no prescription is required by the legitimate website if the purchase is only for low dosages. After all, carisoprodol, which is the generic name of soma, is classified under Schedule IV of Controlled Substances. The classification denotes that although there is indication that the drug can be addictive, the proclivity for addiction is not as high as the controlled substances listed in Schedules I, II, and III.
Still, it’s important for consumers to make important verification of websites that offer medicine and health products without requiring prescriptions. The so–called rogue sellers use the feature to lure consumers into buying fake or expired medications.