The Risks and Advantages of Using an Online Pharmacy

The online age has brought so many different innovations to our world. Literally every day seems to present something new. One of these newer innovations that is here to stay is the online pharmacy.

Online pharmacies, also known as Internet pharmacies and mail-order pharmacies, receive, fill and send prescriptions entirely online. They are growing in popularity around the world and are changing what the pharmaceutical industry looks like on a fundamental level.

If you’re curious about using online pharmacies to order medications, you are probably also wondering about the advantages and the drawbacks of using this type of service. You are right to be cautious.

Check out the advantages and risks of using online pharmacies below so that you can use this convenient new system without risk.


There are a few risks involved with online pharmacies. Because the Internet pharmacy is such a new system, there are still a few kinks. However, with a little bit of research and some smart consumerism, online pharmacies can still be a safe and legal place to purchase medication.

Check out some of the risks and how to combat them below.

  • Illegitimate Online Pharmacies

The biggest risk with using an online pharmacy involves coming in contact with an illegal or unethical Internet pharmacy. These pharmacies do not stick to best practices, meaning they don’t always have the patient’s best interest in mind.

Illegal Internet pharmacies often do not provide truthful information about the source of their medications, where their pharmacy operates out of or what kind of certifications they have. For example, Internet pharmacies have been caught charging customers higher prices for drugs that they source out of other countries for a cheaper price. These drugs may have not been regulated or safely manufactured.

Be sure to avoid these illegitimate pharmacies by only shopping with pharmacies that have been accredited by the government. In the United Kingdom, these pharmacies are easy to spot. They display a green cross logo on their web page to verify that they are legal and registered with the UK’s government.

But be sure to look for more than just a logo, as they can be faked. A little bit of digging on the internet should help you verify the legitimacy (or illegitimacy) of a pharmacy you are interested in.

  • The Wrong Medication

When a consumer orders a prescription from an unethical Internet pharmacy, they are running the risk of receiving the wrong medication.

At best, the prescription could be a weakened form of what they need, and at worst, the prescription could be the entirely wrong kind of medicine. Unethical and illegal Internet pharmacies have been known to send out fake medication, unregulated medication, and expired medication. This could obviously put you at serious risk, depending on your health condition, so always ensure that your prescriptions are coming from a reliable, legal source.

You should also never take prescription medication without a prescription, even if an online pharmacy gives you access to it. Any pharmacy you order medication from should have your health as their first priority, so if any of their practices give you another impression, it is best to choose a different pharmacy. An easy way to spot an unethical and unsafe pharmacy is when one offers to sell prescription drugs without the prescription.


There are a few risks to utilising online pharmacies, but there are also several advantages. Once you’ve found the right Internet pharmacy for you, you can look forward to all of the perks and benefits listed below.

  • Reduced Cost

Many consumers who have used online pharmacies have found a reduction in the cost of their medications when compared to brick and mortar pharmacies. This is mostly contributed to being able to get prescriptions from other sources.

While most patients don’t typically have to pay for their prescriptions in the United Kingdom, online pharmacies in the UK also recognise the coverage provided by the National Health System and won’t charge for medications that a patient wouldn’t have to pay for in person.

  • Increased Convenience

It’s no secret that getting something straight to your door is far more convenient than having to go pick it up from a store yourself. It’s the reason why online retailers are so popular now. Being able to order something and have it delivered with a few clicks of a button saves you time to do more of the things you like to do instead of running errands.

However, this convenience is all the more important for people when it comes to medication. If you’re sick, or in chronic pain or have a disability, Internet pharmacies can allow you to get your medication without you having to make arrangements for it to be picked up. Simply place your prescription order and answer the door once it arrives.

The Verdict

As with anything in life, there are drawbacks and there are advantages to Internet pharmacies. Just remember to do your research and stick with accredited online pharmacies. That way, you will reap the rewards and avoid the risks.

About Alastair WindsorMr Alastair Windsor is a specialist colorectal surgeon in London and is widely regarded as a leader in the field of coloproctology. He runs a busy private practice, including all aspects of colorectal surgery, in the heart of London’s medical mile at the London Digestive Centre, 41 Welbeck Street. The London Digestive Centre is the only integrated gastrointestinal facility in London that includes teams or GI physicians and surgeons as well as dedicated radiology (CT and MRI), pathology and nursing expertise to manage all aspects of gastrointestinal illness. His aim is to provide the highest standard of surgical care with exceptional clinical, diagnostic and technical expertise. He has pioneered a team-based approach to surgical practice with joint senior surgeon clinical and operative care. This is becoming the gold standard for operative care particularly on complex cases. He only uses the finest facilities for your diagnostic and therapeutic needs.Alastair Windsor Facebook Alastair Windsor Google Plus Alastair Windsor Twitter Alastair Windsor Medium Alastair Windsor Wordpress Alastair Windsor Blogger