A majority of antibiotics sold commercially require a doctor’s prescription. The pharmaceutical industry is heavily regulated – and for a good reason. We all know the perils of being able to access drugs without using a prescription. It’s a danger to public health, and will no doubt impact the industry massively. Nowadays however, many people who are looking for a more convenient way of doing things try to buy medication online. And while there are legitimate online pharmacies operating today, not every company that sells medicine online is reputable, so always be cautious till you have satisfied yourself that the pharmacy is legitimate.

The danger of self-diagnosis

One of the most significant contributors to the demand to buy antibiotics online is self-diagnosis. For minor infections, most people rely on the internet to verify a diagnosis. Unfortunately, antibiotic dosage and length of use are crucial to effectiveness. If you don’t take the right amount for the recommended time, the microbe could develop a resistance to the medication and make your condition worse. Also, it doesn’t help that there are sites that advertise selling medicine without requiring the customer to present a prescription.

Online pharmacies that write a prescription for customers

While there are online pharmacies with doctors and physicians available to write a prescription, it doesn’t mean that they provide the same service as your doctor. Most of the time, these online pharmacies will ask customers to answer a questionnaire and prescribe only for minor conditions. As such, it’s still necessary to visit your doctor and get a prescription before buying any antibiotic online. Here are examples of medicine online pharmacies can prescribe for:

  • Anti-allergy medicine
  • Decongestants
  • Some types of medication for high blood pressure
  • Antifungal medicine
  • Common antibiotics
  • Contraceptive

A reputable online pharmacy will advise whether you can get the medicine you need without a prescription. If you have a prescription, it’s their responsibility to verify that it’s legitimate before filling your order.

How do you make sure that you’re buying antibiotics from a reputable online pharmacy?

There are many warning signs to look out for when buying medicine online. First, always check the pharmacy’s license. If they’re affiliated with a well-known pharmacy chain, then you likely don’t need to worry. Nevertheless, it will help to verify the store’s credentials first.

Second, never trust an online store that won’t ask for your prescription. They should have a pharmacist available to answer your questions, whether through live chat or over the phone. The last thing you need to look into is whether they operate within the country or overseas. If you can avoid it, don’t buy it from a foreign online pharmacy.

Unfortunately, counterfeit medicine is rampant in many parts of the world. Indeed, online pharmacies are the most convenient alternative to brick and mortar stores. But, experts always warn consumers about the risks you take when you purchase online. Always remember that medicine such as antibiotics are not like any over-the-counter drug.

For your safety, please take note of the precautions we’ve discussed in this article. By taking the time to verify the reputation of the online pharmacy you’re buying from, you can avoid getting duped into purchasing the wrong dosage or fake medication.

Cite this article as:
Editorial Staff, "How to Avoid the Risks of Buying Antibiotics Online," in Medicalopedia, July 6, 2020, [Permalink: https://www.medicalopedia.org/9047/how-to-avoid-the-risks-of-buying-antibiotics-online/].