Prescriptions From Abroad Can Save You Big — but Are They Safe?

Do you fret about skyrocketing drug prices? Perhaps you would consider using an overseas pharmacy, but hesitate because you worry those less expensive medications aren’t safe.

Your concern is understandable. In the past, news reports have focused on potentially deadly counterfeit medications. But that doesn’t mean you need to rule out overseas pharmacies altogether.

There are ways to get the straight information about overseas pharmacies and their products before you order. For starters, check out PharmacyChecker, which vets overseas pharmacies for legitimacy.

“There are plenty of safe, international pharmacies. To conflate them with dangerous, drug-selling sites is just wrong,” says Dr. Tod Cooperman, CEO and co-founder of PharmacyChecker.

Gabriel Levitt, the president and co-founder of PharmacyChecker, says that while there is no question that rogue pharmacies exist, many online international pharmacies provide safe and cost-effective medications to patients who would otherwise go without.

Why go through all the trouble of finding a reputable overseas pharmacy? Because buying from such a pharmacy can translate into hundreds — if not thousands — of dollars in savings.

And the stakes are high: More than half of Americans take prescription drugs, with these patients taking an average of four medicines, according to a 2017 Consumer Reports survey.

Here are a few more ways to ascertain whether an overseas or online pharmacy is safe:

  1. Verify that a prescription is required. Any pharmacy that waives the requirement of a prescription to obtain medication is not to be trusted. So, call and ask if a prescription is needed. If the answer is “no,” don’t use that pharmacy.
  2. Look at the pharmacy license. Do not purchase medicines from any pharmacy that does not have a valid pharmaceutical license for the state to which it will be selling.
  3. Scrutinize the website address. Does it end in “.pharmacy”? Does it have the Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites (VIPPS) seal? Both are indicative of legitimate pharmacies.
  4. Make sure the pharmacy has a physical address. Most fraudulent online pharmacies conceal their locations. Reputable ones never do.
  5. Double-check verification resources. Who funds them? What are the qualifications of those that analyze pharmacies? How are the analyses done? Read the websites thoroughly. Then, look for news stories and other public information about them.
  6. Check a few verification sites. Your best bet is to check the pharmacy you want to use on several sites, including PharmacyChecker. If the reports differ, dig deeper.

What is your experience with prescription medication costs? Have you purchased any from overseas? Share with us in comments below or on our Facebook page.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
How to Prepare Your Finances for Retirement in 7 Steps
How to Prepare Your Finances for Retirement in 7 Steps

Here is how to get your finances in shape for your golden years, one step at a time.

26 Work-From-Home Jobs That Pay $100,000
26 Work-From-Home Jobs That Pay $100,000

These lucrative gigs let you work in your slippers.

5 Ways to Save up $500,000 in 15 Years
5 Ways to Save up $500,000 in 15 Years

Even if you’re behind in preparing for retirement, there’s still a way to pull together a solid nest egg if you focus.

3 Ways to Downsize Your Life to Save Money, Time and Stress
3 Ways to Downsize Your Life to Save Money, Time and Stress

Downsizing can cut the bloat in your finances — and give you more free time and less stress.

It’s Worth Spending More on These 14 Purchases
It’s Worth Spending More on These 14 Purchases

Here’s where to find the sweet spot at the intersection of price and quality.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

How to Buy Gas At Costco Without a Membership
How to Buy Gas At Costco Without a Membership

The warehouse club often has some of the cheapest gas in town. Here’s how you can get it as a nonmember.

10 Things to Stop Buying If You Want a Clutter-Free Home
10 Things to Stop Buying If You Want a Clutter-Free Home

If you like to keep things simple, avoid these purchases.

A Simple Way to Silence Robocalls Today
A Simple Way to Silence Robocalls Today

A few steps can keep your phone from ringing when a spammer calls.

This Company Makes the Best Tires in America
This Company Makes the Best Tires in America

Driver satisfaction with tires is at an all-time high, but one brand stands out.

If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

Vacuums from this brand can last a half-century, if not longer — and they’re hot on the resale market.

This Health Issue Can Hint at Dementia Years in Advance
This Health Issue Can Hint at Dementia Years in Advance

One type of pain is especially associated with cognitive decline.

Can I Switch to Spousal Social Security Benefits When My Ex Dies?
Can I Switch to Spousal Social Security Benefits When My Ex Dies?

Knowing when to claim can help you maximize benefits.

If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

This iconic dinnerware is prized for everyday use as well as reselling for profit.

Medicare Will Not Cover These 6 Medical Costs
Medicare Will Not Cover These 6 Medical Costs

Don’t let these health care expenses catch you off guard in retirement.

8 Things You Should Always Buy on Amazon
8 Things You Should Always Buy on Amazon

The giant retailer shines when it comes to these things, from basics to hard-to-find specialty goods.

Beware This Hidden Ingredient in Rotisserie Chicken
Beware This Hidden Ingredient in Rotisserie Chicken

Something foul may lurk in those delicious, ready-to-eat birds.

5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free
5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free

Hesitant to drop $119 a year on an Amazon Prime membership? Here’s how to get it for free.

5 Ways to Fill Your Pantry With Free Food
5 Ways to Fill Your Pantry With Free Food

Anyone can take advantage of these resources.

5 States With the Worst Health Care for Retirees
5 States With the Worst Health Care for Retirees

All of these states are located in the same region of the nation.

6 Reasons You Should Stop Hiding Cash at Home
6 Reasons You Should Stop Hiding Cash at Home

Stashing money around the house is anything but harmless.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

7 Big Purchases You Should Never Make
7 Big Purchases You Should Never Make

Sometimes a big-ticket purchase is nothing more than a big waste of money.

5 Products You Should Never Buy Generic
5 Products You Should Never Buy Generic

Sometimes the brand-name version is clearly superior.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.