Avoid too-good-to-be-true sites and offers. Websites that offer major discounts can be a sign the drugs are counterfeit. Avoid flashy ads and clickbait e-mails. Websites that offer limited types of medicine and ones that treat conditions, such as obesity, pain and acne, are often red flags.
Follow up and go local. NABP lists sites it recommends and ones that it doesn't on its website. You may consider sticking with online pharmacies associated with legitimate walk-in stores in the U.S.
If you have any concerns or complaints about a site, report it to BBB Scam Tracker or the FDA. Look for Web sites displaying the Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites’ (VIPPS) seal of approval from NABP. VIPPS certification requires online pharmacies be licensed in every state to which they ship drugs. They must also meet standards for patient privacy, quality assurance, authentication and security. Never give personal information — social security number, credit card information or medical/health history — unless you’re sure the company is trustworthy. Make sure the Web site will not sell your personal information unless you agree.
You can also visit bbb.org or call (937) 222-5825 or (800) 776-5301 for a list of BBB Accredited pharmacies and Business Profiles on ones you’re considering.
John North is president of the Dayton Better Business Bureau.