article is a transcribed copy from a Postmaster Publication
Periodical called Bottom Line, Volume 27, Number 12, June
15, 2005. The article
provides very good information and many things to consider
especially if you are looking to buy medicine from online
How to Save
Hundreds of Dollars Buying Drugs On-Line by Rick Melcher, RPh, registered pharmacist in Yakima, Washington,
and coauthor of Smart Buys DrugWise (Harbor):
pharmacies can provide big savings for people who need
prescription drugs. Prices
average 18% less than even discount retail stores prices. For some drugs, the savings are as high as 45%.
works: A patient
orders a drug on-line. The
patient or his/her doctor sends a written prescription to the
Internet pharmacy. A
pharmacist reviews and fills the prescription, which then is
shipped through the mail.
over-the-counter products are available at Internet pharmacies,
too. Most Internet
pharmacies also accept phone orders if who don’t have computer
access…or you can go to your library and use the computer there.
and savings of Internet pharmacies have led many patients to
abandon brick-and-mortar stores—but you have to make sure the
pharmacy is reputable and shop wisely to get the best deals. Here’s how…
for the VIPPS seal. Internet
pharmacies that advertise themselves as Verified Internet
Pharmacy Practice Sites (VIPPS) have been inspected by the
National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP). NABP evaluates participating pharmacies on the quality
and consistency of their procedures.
Caution: Some unscrupulous Internet companies display the VIPPS
seal even though they haven’t been inspected. Check a company’s status at www.nabp.net. Some reputable pharmacies, such as AARP’s and Costco’s,
are not VIPPS members—be sure you are familiar with the
insurance participation. Most Internet pharmacies work with a limited number of
insurance companies. Some
bill the insurers directly…others do not. You can find this information on the pharmacy Web
sites, or call your insurance company to find out which, if
any, Internet pharmacies are part of its network.
in extra costs. Some
Internet pharmacies offer free shipping for standard ground
usually takes two weeks, so order well in advance. Fees for overnight delivery can be high.
Internet pharmacies, such as AARP’s, charge patients annual
membership fees. If
you need many prescriptions over a year, the savings can more than
offset the extra fee.
in bulk. Some
insurance companies allow people to get a three-month supply
of medication for a single co-payment when they order from
Internet pharmacies, cutting costs by 67%.
also can save by buying up to a year’s supply at a time. Example: One
man ordered a year’s worth of the thyroid hormone levothyroxine. He skipped his insurance company entirely—and still saved
$80. In addition,
some pharmacies offer free shipping on big orders.
· Pick a company that has a “live” pharmacist. Avoid any Internet pharmacies that don’t provide customer
support. Look for one
that has a pharmacist available to answer questions, either via
E-mail or telephone.
· Ask a pharmacist. Some
drugs, such as the anticoagulant warfarin and the heart drug
digoxin, are sensitive to extremes in temperature and so can
degrade while they’re in the mail. As the Internet pharmacist whether your medications can
withstand the rigors of mail travel before ordering on the
the end of this article, the following are listed as “Best
Health Gone Wrong