How to safely buy medicine online

Shopping at legal online pharmacies may make sense for some consumers. Here are tips to help you stay safe.

Only use legitimate websites when purchasing your medicine online. If you are buying your medication online, use these tips to protect yourself from counterfeits.

Verify the online pharmacy

If you are buying your medication online, check out this website—safe.pharmacy—to verify whether a site is safe or not recommended.

Check the website

Legal online pharmacies have websites that clearly list:  

  • A physical business address with a street and city in the U.S.
  • Contact information including a phone number
  • State license information

Legitimate pharmacies will always require you to submit a prescription from a health care provider before they sell any medicine that requires a prescription.

Know the red flags

To stay safe, avoid websites that: 

  • Allow consumers to buy prescription medications by simply completing an online question­naire
  • Offer drastically discounted prices
  • Offer drugs that make exaggerated claims of providing a cure for chronic or life-threatening illnesses
  • Offer to ship prescriptions from other countries to the United States

It's unlikely to be a legitimate online pharmacy, if it does not:

  • Require a valid prescrip­tion to place an order
  • Have a licensed pharmacist available for consultation
  • Offer contact information, including a physical street address

For more information: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is the U.S. agency that regulates the sale of medicine. It offers additional resources on how to avoid purchasing counterfeit medication here.