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International Online Pharmacies Can Offer Safe Drugs At Low Prices

08/11/2016 07:40 am ET | Updated Aug 11, 2016

The cost of life-saving drugs can be prohibitive in this country, many times more than what people from other countries pay for the same drugs. As a result, 35 million Americans don't fill their prescriptions, cut their pills in half or otherwise don't comply with their medication regimen. It's against the law to buy drugs from online pharmacies outside the U.S., though millions of Americans do because they offer far lower prices. Can you buy safe drugs at low prices from international online pharmacies?

According to Kelly Ann Barnes, JD, RPh, Vice President of PharmacyChecker.com, there are reputable international online pharmacies that offer safe drugs at much lower prices. Pharmaceutical laws regulate pharmacies in many countries outside the U.S. And these countries oversee and enforce their laws to ensure the safety of their citizens.

But, it can be hard for people in the U.S. to know whether affordable drugs available online are safe. So, PharmacyChecker.com verifies international online pharmacies to make sure that they prioritize patient safety, have high standards, sell regulated drugs, and only sell to people with valid prescriptions. It allows people to compare prices for drugs from these pharmacies as well as local U.S. pharmacies. Prices at international pharmacies for brand-name drugs are often more than 80% lower than in the U.S.

PharmacyChecker.com only gives its seal of approval to online pharmacies that fill orders through licensed pharmacies, when a valid prescription is provided. The online pharmacies must have secure online pharmacy web pages so that customers' financial and personal information is protected. And, they must have a privacy policy. PharmacyChecker.com only approves pharmacies that let people know the country from which their prescription is being sent.

Staff also conduct onsite pharmacy inspections in some countries to ensure that the pharmacy is meeting high quality standards. They "mystery shop" all online pharmacies they approve, pretending to be a consumer on the website and ensure the pharmacy is meeting their requirements. They do not approve pharmacies that ship controlled substances, such as oxycodone or Valium, internationally into the U.S.

Staff at PharmacyChecker.com have never received any reports of  people harmed from drugs bought from a site they have verified. It also appears that people are never prosecuted for personal drug importation. The FDA says it is "not aware of any actions taken against an individual resulting from their purchase of small quantities of unapproved drugs for personal use."

Be sure to talk to your doctor about the drugs you're taking, both prescription and over the counter. Keep in mind that some FDA-approved drugs may not be safe. Here's how to prepare for your doctor's visit.

And, keep in mind that there are ways to save money on your drugs in the U.S. Here are six ways.

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