An online pharmacy, online prescription medicine store, or pharmacy mail-order pharmacy is simply a pharmacy that functions online and ships orders to customers via mail, delivery companies, or online prescription medicine store web portal. Online pharmacy forum Online pharmacies have the potential to increase their revenues as they become more established in the market. In recent years, online drugstores have grown by leaps and bounds. According to a 2021 Survey of Drugstores, an average of twenty-seven percent of drugstore shoppers ordered medications online in the previous six months. This represents a significant increase from six percent in the last five years.
In 2021, online pharmacies achieved its first revenue-sharing arrangement with the Pharmaceutical Drug Administration (PDA). To qualify for this revenue sharing arrangement, online pharmacies had to meet several regulations and disclosure requirements. The regulations require that online pharmacies have experienced staff and maintain quality and safety measures to protect customers’ health and safety. The establishment also must post quality control and quality monitoring information on the Internet site and provide printed copies of all approval certificates and notices. Pharmacy operators are required to inform the PDA of any changes that would affect a customer’s prescription.
Many state and local governments have also taken steps to regulate the sale of prescription drugs online. In February, the California State Board of Pharmacy proposed rules for online pharmacies that would mandate the disclosure of all pharmaceutical ingredients, mandatory pill bottle labeling, and requirements for obtaining an adult prescription. Currently, there is no requirement for submitting such documents to a resident of California. The proposal was referred to as the “California Consumer Mediation Act.”
Some state legislatures have considered regulating online pharmacies, but no bills have been introduced in this regard. The New Jersey State Legislature considered regulating online pharmacies in August of 2021, but the proposal was defeated. The attorney general further stated, “In considering this issue, the state has concluded that current federal and state law do not constitute an adequate level of protection for consumers who use online pharmacies to purchase medications or other health products.” The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy and the National Practitioner Data Bank also recommended that the state not regulate the sale of prescription drugs online.
There are other reasons that online pharmacies may be viewed as undesirable, such as the possibility of fraud and the likelihood of dispensing expired or missold prescription drugs. According to Kolesz, “One of the biggest problems that consumers have with online pharmacies is that they are dispensing medications that are either misbranded or counterfeit.” He went on to say, “But even when they are dispensing the proper medications, there is still a risk that the medication may not work and could cause someone to become ill.” It is not feasible to mandate the closing of rogue online pharmacies, but the industry must be monitored and held accountable for its actions.
To comply with pharmacy regulations, online pharmacies must be located at least 50 feet from the main facility where prescriptions are handled. They are also required to obtain a copy of the prescription forms for patients who have written a doctors’ note to receive a copy of their prescription without a walk-in by visiting an approved location. States will also work with the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy to implement measures that will “establish uniform protection against the sale of counterfeit or false medications and protect the public from the sale of expired and misprinted medications.” These measures may include signage and database tracking. In addition to these measures, the NABPS also recommends that the online pharmacies offer protection against identity theft by requiring the same safeguards used to prevent security breaches by requiring input/output data and implementing measures to prevent patient information sharing between different companies.
For more information about online pharmacies and other pharmaceuticals, see the NABPS site. This website also provides information on the latest state laws regarding the sale and distribution of medicines. Online pharmacies and other venues such as drug stores and manufacturers are required by law to follow strict regulations regarding the sales and distribution of prescription drugs. So, if you are considering buying prescription drugs online, make sure you research each online pharmacy thoroughly before making any purchases.