Pharma Shopping on the Web

Rather than head to the corner drugstore, many consumers are turning to their computers for their prescription meds. While many of these Internet sites are lawful enterprises that offer the convenience, privacy and safeguards of traditional brick-and-mortar pharmacies, there are rogue online outlets that sell unapproved products or sidestep established procedures meant to protect consumers.

Whether it’s for a wider reach, reduced operational costs or increased revenue, more and more people are choosing to shop for medicines on the web instead of their nearest drug store. But while this can be a good thing for some, it’s also raising concerns over the safety of the medicines that are being sold.

Pharmacists aren’t always happy about the rise of online pharmacies, and some say they may be losing customers. But others say consumers need more options for buying their medications, and that the growing number of sites is actually helping them keep up with demand.

In fact, some of the online pharmacies are able to offer discounts on some brands of drugs that aren’t available at brick-and-mortar stores. In addition, some sites offer free shipping and are FSA or HSA eligible.

If you’re a bargain hunter, it’s worth checking to see if your medication has a copay assistance program that can lower your cost. Some are provided by the manufacturer, while others are offered by independent companies. These programs usually require a monthly fee, but can save you a lot of money on your meds.

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