An apple a day, keeps illegal online pharmacy merchants away

Just like in real life, the Internet has a few good, bad, neutral apples strewn along the ecommerce highway. Any industry will have fly-by-night merchants - a reality we all have to face. If the music industry has copyright infringement, and a total war against piracy, so do legal pharmacy merchants have to struggle to keep their reputations untarnished - despite the numerous illegal pharmarcy merchants spamming our inboxes.

As a consumer who often resorts to the Internet to get medicine or gratify a shopping impulse, one has to be mindful of the ecommerce sites one buys from. Aside from the basics: merchant account, fraud prevention measures, friendly customer support, it's imperative to check whether or not a merchant is legit or not.

Signs you're dealing with illegal pharmacy merchant sites:

  • Beware the unsolicited email!
If you've never received an email offering incredibly cheap drugs such as cialis, prozac, or valiums, then luck is on your side. However, the rest of mankind ain't that lucky - often times, inboxes are flooded with unsolicited email that sounds tempting at first, but points to illegal pharmacy merchant sites.
  • Rx not needed
When you encounter a pharmacy merchant site that doesn't require a prescription, "Free Online Doctor consultation", by all means skip the site. The US Food and Drug Association(FDA) prohibits the dealing of prescription drugs without prior doctor consultation. No prescription should always mean no sale.
  • Address-Free
When a pharmacy merchant site doesn't have a proper address, skip! Often times, these merchants are based in far off countries and the FDA again prohibits purchasing drugs from foreign or unlicensed sources. The reason for this prohibition is to protect consumers from substandard drugs hazardous to one's health, or even worse, life. You also can't sue them for damages.
  • Not enough inventory
Some illegal merchant sites only carry certain popular drugs and don't have a full inventory. An obvious sign of unscrupulous merchants. Bad apple, bad!

Keep them illegal merchant sites away! Prescribed precaution:
  • The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy has a list of licensed pharmacies. Check if the pharmacy merchant site you're buying from is included.
  • If the site doesn't require a prescription, please, don't buy from them and support their existence. One less customer will mean much to their downfall.
  • If you have questions, usually, a legal merchant site will offer the services of a licensed pharmacist. If there isn't any, don't buy.
  • Repeat after me: No US address, no purchase.
  • If it sounds to good to be true(cheap drugs, free delivery), then it probably is.
  • These con-artists are really good - sometimes their sites appear legit, but are only out to get your credit card information. Beware!
  • Your email provider should have anti-spam filters. Be extra careful of email offers in your spam mail especially the ones offering prescription drugs at 70% off!
  • Doctors often endorse legal online pharmacies - ask for their advice.
  • This one's good: some pharmacy merchant sites concoct conspiracy theories such as "the government or big drug companies have made efforts to stop a certain amazing, one of a kind drug from reaching the market and you're so lucky to receive this offer". They might even use specialized terms to convince you. Don't be persuaded easily. Ask your doctor, or search the Internet for reviews.

A basket of apples can have green, red apples, and the others, a mix of the two. Some are sweet, some on the sour side, while some, just plain rotten. Keep the rotten apples away from the good apples - similarly, separate the good pharmacy merchant sites from the bad ones. A good merchant site - the good apple - can keep you healthy, while an illegal merchant site can keep you feeling rotten and in bed all day.
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