Ordering Medicine Over the Internet
Q: After getting into a car accident last month my doctor prescribed several
medications. Unfortunately, half of them aren't covered by my insurance plan,
so I'm paying (dearly) out of pocket. I've heard that you can purchase drugs
for less over the Internet but is it safe?
Dr. Donnica: Before going online, call your insurance company: demand to
know why these medications are not covered. Then, go back to your doctor: discuss
the insurance coverage issue and ask if there are other medications that can achieve
the same goals which are covered by your insurance. You should also be
aware that prescription prices may vary significantly at different pharmacies.
If you live in New York State, Attorney General Eliot Spitzer's website
which compares prices of the most common prescriptions at different pharmacies
may help: www.nyagrx.org.
New York State law also requires all pharmacies to give you their Drug Retail
Price List if you request it.
Purchasing prescriptions online gives you easy access to a world wide web of
reputable companies, products and price comparisons. It also gives you access
to those that aren't so reputable. You can even reach some doctors (in our country
and in others) who illegally prescribe medicines over the Internet. Any time
you buy medicines or supplements, be sure you are getting quality products from
reputable sources based upon a prescription from your own personal physician.
It is safe to purchase over-the-counter medicines or supplements from reliable
manufacturers and from reputable sources either online or in person so long
as you follow certain guidelines. Any time you purchase any medicine, be sure
the product has no evidence of having been tampered with and be sure to read
the label. Only buy medicines from a source that has a licensed pharmacist available
to answer questions (e.g. www.drugstore.com). Most importantly, only purchase medicines or supplements that you actually
need and that have been proven to show benefit for the condition you wish to
prevent or treat. A good source for information about reliable products is www.fda.gov.
Created: 5/13/2002  - Donnica Moore, M.D.
Reviewed: 12/10/2004  - Donnica Moore, M.D.