The past few decades have seen an extreme growth of the internet. This growth has brought about a new trend when it comes to pharmaceuticals: the online pharmacy. Currently, the internet is awash with online pharmacies, both genuine and fake ones. These online pharmacies are based in different countries. However, the country that has experienced the biggest impact brought about by the boom of online pharmacies is Canada. With affordably priced medications and closeness to the US, Canadian online pharmacies have become a popular choice for most US citizens.


Canadian Pharmacy Reviews


Online pharmacies operate under a very simple concept: Offering affordable medication to millions of buyers across the globe, all this from a convenient virtual destination. With the cost of medication on the rise, more people are seeking cheaper medication from online pharmacies. However, some of these end up falling for fraudulent sites. This is why it is important for buyers to understand the anatomy and operations of authentic online pharmacies. This will help prevent them from falling for fake online pharmacies.


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A history of Online Pharmacies


1999 saw the launch of Pharmacy2U, one of the first pioneer internet pharmacies globally. The site was launched in the UK. The company later changed its name to General Pharmaceutical Council in 2005 following the enactment of new laws that prevented the filing of National Health Service prescriptions by online pharmacies online. However, Pharmacy2U led a breakthrough for the online pharmacy industry in the country by opening up new doors. Currently, more than 2 million people buy their medication online in the UK.


Pharmacy2U has also worked to spread the popularity of online pharmacies all across Europe. It has also helped spread the trend of buyers getting their medication internationally from online pharmacies. More people found out that they could access medication from other countries that offer different pricing standards for their drugs. This lessens the financial burden of the drugs.


US consumers later caught on the trend. With the prices of drugs on the rise and the economy getting harder, US consumers started turning to online pharmacies to make savings when getting their prescription medications. According to reports, consumers save on average 50-80% when they buy their prescription medication online. In just a few years, the number of online pharmacies serving US consumers skyrocketed.


A report by the Washington Post pointed revealed that millions of Americans were bringing in prescription drugs from Mexico. Also, the report stated that over 2 million Americans had received their prescription medication from other countries such as India, South Africa, and Thailand. However, the country that benefited the most from US buyers and served as a popular destination was Canada.


The Internet Pharmaceutical Boom in Canada


With the realization that US citizens could access cheap medication from Canada, right across the border, the Canadian market experienced a great boom. Currently, Canada ranks among the leaders in online pharmaceuticals. A huge bulk of their consumer base is in the US. In addition to getting affordable medication, another strong point that attracts buyers to online pharmacies is the privacy and anonymity that accompanies the purchase of prescriptions online.


With the growth of the number of online pharmacies in Canada, there was a need to develop organizations to help protect buyers who chose to buy medication online. These organizations have helped a great deal in cracking down on cases of illegal sale of drugs and companies that sell fake medication. They also ensure that consumers from the US abide by the restrictions imposed on the type and quantity of drugs when buying from Canadian online pharmacies.


CIPA


CIPA stands for Canadian International Pharmacy Association. This is an association of licensed, retail pharmacies based in Canada. The organization deals with maintenance-based medication as well as pharmaceuticals. However, they do not sell controlled substances to users both from the US and Canada.


The organization sells medication in limited 90-day quantities directly from their pharmacies. For safety reasons, each CIPA pharmacy member is regulated by the government of Canada. The site also helps prospective buyers by listing reputable pharmacies on their site. The CIPA is also popular with consumers from the US as its prescription process is the same as that of mail-order prescription companies in the US.


VIPPS


VIPPS is an abbreviation for the Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Site. This is a very valuable source of information for those looking to buy prescription drugs from genuine Canadian pharmacies. The site has a list of licensed and verified online pharmacies in the country that work within the 90-day prescription laws enacted by the US. This organization exists to help reduce the number of risks associated with buying medication online. The site provides links to all VIPPS verified sites that meet the standards set by the organization.


Pharmacy Checker


This is an independent site that also works to help buyers make an informed choice. The site rates different online pharmacies and provides in-depth reviews on every site. They also provide information on their validity and the medication they sell. The site performs various checks on sites, including licensing, verifiable contact information and security with online information.


The site also has easy to read charts that provide information on where the online pharmacies ship to and whether a prescription is required when buying medication. The sites that pass the rigorous test receive a Pharmacychecker.com seal, alongside a phrase of ‘valid member.' The date of verification is also listed. Buyers looking to check the validity of the seal can cross reference on Pharmacy Checker’s site.


LegitScript


This is an established verification and monitoring service for online pharmacies. An extensive list of approved online pharmacies is available on the site, alongside a list of thousands of fake online pharmacies. The company has also done a fair share of work to report and help shut down fraudulent pharmacies. The company is also working with Google to help with the monitoring of online pharmacies across the globe.


Legitscript’s site can also be used to check the legitimacy of an online pharmacy before buying. Before buying any prescription medication from Canadian online pharmacies, it is recommended to always research on the genuineness of the site so as to buy medication safely.


American Buyers and Canadian Pharmacies


Americans make a significant portion of the market for the thriving pharmaceutical industry. One of the main factors that attract American buyers to Canadian online pharmacies is the price. CIPA points out that the price of medication on online pharmacies is up to 80% less than medication bought in drug stores in the US. As the economic climate in the US gets worse, the prospect of getting cheap prescription medication is very attractive to those who have financial struggles.


In the US, many people do not have medical insurance. A recent report by the Commonwealth Fund based in New York revealed that almost 50% of adults in the US between the ages of 19 and 64 lack health insurance or an adequate medical cover to take care of high health care costs. The figures translate to about 84 million Americans without the required insurance coverage. Affordable prescriptions, as well as the convenience of the digital pharmacy, allows many to access the medication that would otherwise be out of reach.


For those new to buying medication online, safety ranks high on the list of concerns. Most of them want to understand why the medications have such low prices and exactly how online pharmacies are able to sell their products at such low prices. Well, the answer is that the Canadian government regulates the price as well as the market for prescription medications. This is a part of their national universal health care initiative. In the US, such policies have not yet been set in place. In most cases, those shopping online are looking for the same prescriptions, minus the retail markup that is imposed in the US. Since there is no price control over prescription medication in the US, pharmaceutical companies are free to set the price for their products however they see fit. In most cases, the price set keeps most medication out of reach of most Americans.


American Laws on Online Prescriptions


The average US buyer is concerned about the legality of buying prescription medication online. Importing drugs from international online pharmacies is technically illegal. However, the FDA came to the rescue of Americans to help them access certain prescription medications. When it comes to online pharmacies, individual buyers are only allowed to import only a small supply of drugs, usually a 90-day supply, for personal use. The US government has also employed various measures to ensure the safety of drugs bought online by US consumers.


With the popularity of online pharmacies on the rise, some companies came in to take advantage of the rising demand for their services. A large number of unethical and illegal online pharmacies have infiltrated the market. Most of these are under the control of criminal networks. They sold controlled substances to minors or engaged in the sale of expired or counterfeit medications.


These pharmacies dealt a serious blow to the whole industry and put the buyers at great risk. This led to the creation of sites such as PharmacyChecker.com back in 2004 whose sole aim is to verify the validity of web-based pharmacies. 2008 saw the passing of the Ryan Height Online Consumer Protection Act. The law banned the sale of controlled substances online by online pharmacies based on online patient consultations.


Drugs Sold By Online Pharmacies


Even though a wide range of prescription medications are available on online pharmacies, not all drugs can be bought online legally. Legitimate pharmacies do not sell controlled substances on the Internet, even if the buyer has a valid prescription. A controlled substance is one with the potential for dependence or abuse. The most common medications offered by online pharmacies include:


• Antibiotics
• Hair loss medication
• Asthma medication
• Men’s health medication
• Arthritis medication
• Cholesterol medication
• Stomach acid and heartburn medication

Finding a Legitimate Online Pharmacy


The greatest concern when buying medication online is safety. There is a large number of scam sites and illegal pharmacies and finding a legitimate online pharmacy can be difficult. To ensure you get a genuine pharmacy, there are several considerations you should take.


Ensure that the site clearly states the name of the business, the address as well as physical location under the section of contact information. Also, authentic online pharmacies always request a valid prescription and medical history before any purchase. Ensure that the online Pharmacy has a licensed pharmacist available.


Cost of Canadian drugs


Price is a huge consideration when buying drugs online. It is, therefore, important to remember that there is a difference between the Canadian dollar and American dollar. This may make the medication more expensive than expected. The price quoted on Canadian online pharmacies is in Canadian dollars. The difference between the two currencies fluctuates on a daily basis. This may affect the price of the drug, either increasing it or reducing it. Also, ensure you factor in the shipping cost as it impacts heavily on the overall price.


Best Canadian Pharmacy Reviews


For those looking to buy from legitimate and safe online pharmacies, there are various sites that provide valuable online reviews on online pharmacies. It is recommended to read reviews on an independent site before settling for an online pharmacy. Illegitimate pharmacies may post fake positive reviews on their site in a bid to attract customers. This is the reason why independent review sites are a great tool.


VIPPS provides countless links to reviews of legitimate online pharmacies and provides research on these pharmacies in a format that is easy to read. CIPA also helps by providing links to legitimate pharmacies. Pharmacy Checker is one of the most trusted sites when it comes to reviews and gives potential buyers an insight on reputable online pharmacies.


To get a safe Canadian online pharmacy, you need some fair share of research. Ensure you read reviews from verified customers on independent sites so as to safely buy medication online.

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