Just like everything else, purchasing medications online has become the new trend. It saves a lot of trouble for people. After all, healthcare is one of our basic rights and should be easily accessible. Yet, bureaucracy and government interference make this a really uncomfortable situation. I heard a doctor say that 60% of his time is spent filling insurance forms and 40% of his time is dedicated to treating patients. That’s why online pharmacies present a solution that makes these problems go away. However, they are not without risks. In this article, E-Medz Solution will take a good look at how online pharmacies operate, the pros and the cons, and the 5 best online pharmacies for 2021.
History of Online Pharmacies
The idea of buying medications online is not really new. The history goes back to about 20 years. Just like any other business, manufacturers realized that establishing plants outside the USA or UK was relatively cheaper. However, regulatory authorities such as the FDA needed to see the manufacturing process through inspections. That can’t happen if the factory was outside the USA. Therefore, the mission was somewhat unsuccessful. Companies like Pfizer have manufacturing in different Asian countries but were unable to sell those in the USA although it was the same medication produced by the same company.
When the use of the internet spread, it was kind of a relief for those manufacturers. The first medication that went online and sold billions was the famous Pfizer Viagra. First of all, it was expensive in the USA. Secondly, it was not covered by insurance, and third, it was a bit uncomfortable to buy it from a regular pharmacy. Other people were looking at the buyer strangely. Online pharmacies provided the medications cheaper as they were from either the Pfizer plant in Thailand or in Bangladesh. There was no question about insurance, and finally, it was not uncomfortable at all. The pills would be discreetly delivered at home.
In the beginning, however, this was not really an open trade. Big companies wouldn’t admit that their medications were sold online. The online pharmacies were also somewhat underground. You could only find them in the dark-net.
The Canadians took advantage of this and started the business openly. Even now, the word ‘Canadian Pharmacy‘ or ‘Hot Canadian Pharmacy‘ is associated with the online pharmacy business.
Online Pharmacy Pros and Cons
Pros for Online Pharmacies
- Less Expensive: Online pharmacies are a lot cheaper. Even if they are located in a different country, they probably have no physical store and don’t have to pay the tax and salaries. You can probably save more than half if you buy your medications online.
- No Prescription Required: Most international online pharmacies don’t require a prescription. Now, this is where most people worry that the pharmacy is probably not legit. Yet, the issue is only jurisdictional. Look at it this way. A US doctor (With a US license) can prescribe a patient in the USA (regardless of nationality). The patient can then buy the medications in a local US pharmacy because the prescription is valid. On the other hand, a Spanish traveler with a Spanish prescription issued by a Spanish doctor can’t buy the said medication in the USA because the doctor is not licensed by the USA medical board. By now, you probably understand what is happening. A US citizen can travel to Spain, get sick, and get a prescription from a Spanish doctor and can buy that medication in Spain. So if you buy prescription medication online, you aren’t actually buying it from within the USA and won’t really need the US prescription, and so on. Internet simply removed the border. You don’t physically have to be in Spain, but can still buy something from a Spanish company.
- Delivered At Home: The best part is no matter what you buy, it stays discreet. They wrap nicely and deliver the medications at home. You can relax and don’t have to be embarrassed about anything.
Cons of Online Pharmacies
- Scam: The customer has to understand that an online pharmacy is ideally international so that it is outside the jurisdiction. It’s riskier if it’s inside your country’s jurisdiction, which will be explained in a separate article. There is a possibility that the pharmacy is fraudulent. They’d take your money and ship you low quality medications or nothing. You must always find a reliable pharmacy. One of the reasons we’re writing this article is just that. We intend to list the 5 best online pharmacies in 2021. We’ll also cover how to spot a legit online pharmacy in a separate article so that you can recognize a reliable online pharmacy by yourself.
- Customs Issue: You may have found a good pharmacy, but they don’t know how to pack the medications well. If the Customs seizes the medications, there is almost nothing you can do. Customs don’t really have the authority to prosecute if that’s what you’re worried about. If you have a prescription for the medications, you can go to Customs and claim the package. If you are like most people who don’t have prescriptions, you can simply disavow the package. Customs usually sends a letter to ask if that package is yours. If you don’t reply, they also don’t do anything.
- Legal Issues: The only legal issue here is the jurisdiction. That means your local law matters. If you have purchased prescription medications online without a prescription, and they have been safely delivered, the only way you can get in trouble is if you are carrying them on the streets without a prescription and some cop searches you and lab tests the medications. We’ll go through the safety protocols in a separate article.
5 Best Online Pharmacies 2021
So without further ado, let’s rank the 5 best online pharmacies for 2021. We have ranked them in 5 criteria and a 5-point system (a total of 25 points). The 5 criteria are Quality of Medications, Price, Shipping, Customer Service, and Ease of Use.
1. EuroMeds One
|Quality of Medications||5|
|Price of Medications||4|
|Ease of Use||4|
EuroMeds One ranks 1 on our count as they have managed to keep their services consistent for more than 8 years. They are a Netherlands-based company with shipping facilities in the Philippines and Spain.
Their quality of medications is excellent. Most medications are branded and if they sell anything generic, they will let you know. Everything has been clearly labeled on their site so they get a 5.
The price of medication is 4 as they can be found a little more expensive than a few others. For example, while others sell Adderall at $ 3.50-$ 4.00, Blue Cross sells it at $ 4.15. However, if the medications are too cheap, the quality can be in question. It’s probably a good thing.
We give 4 for shipping because their packaging technique is solid. They remove the original packaging and repack them to be safe from Customs detection. It makes them safe for the customers. The reason they don’t get a perfect score is that shipments take 12 days to reach the US or UK. Express shipping takes 6 days. They don’t ship from the USA so they can’t make overnight deliveries.
They have excellent customer service though. Orders are updated in a timely fashion and customer is notified via email. You can chat directly to a support agent on the site and inquire about your order and they resolve within minutes. They also help with payment issues really quickly so they get a 5.
Ease of Use is the overall ordering and payment system. They get a 4. Their ordering system on the site is flawless, but they can’t process payments with a credit card or PayPal if the customer has no prescription. It’s for customer safety. Credit card payments leave a paper trail and not safe for those without prescriptions. Therefore, you have to pay using Bitcoin, Moneygram, or Western Union. It’s okay though. Their customer support compensates for that. Those who aren’t familiar with these payment methods can ask and the support team provides really easy-to-follow instructions. They even have an article on their blog explaining all the payment methods so that you can pick whichever is best for you.
2. Pill To Go
|Quality of Medications||4|
|Price of Medications||4|
|Ease of Use||4|
Trailing just one point behind is Pill To Go. A Philippines-based company that has been in business for over 5 years.
Their quality of medications is also excellent. However, they are mostly generic. Nevertheless, we have not found any medications that are ineffective. All the medications are safe and they work. That’s why they get a 4.
They get 4 for price because although they are selling generics, they prices are not very low. I guess quality is everything. As a matter of fact, we highly recommend buying a little expensive. If you come across an online pharmacy where the prices are dirt cheap, you can be sure that they have no quality.
Shipping also takes 12 days to reach the USA and UK and 6 days for express.
Excellent customer support and they are very friendly. Inquire anything and you will be served within minutes.
Ease of use is similar to Blue Cross. They have the same rules for prescriptions and the customer support do their best to help the customers process the payment using alternative methods.
3. Blink Health
|Quality of Medications||3|
|Price of Medications||5|
|Ease of Use||3|
Blink Health is an all American company with shipping facilities within the USA. They have been in business for 4 years.
For the quality of medications, they get 3 because all their medications are generic, and yet on the pages, they aren’t advertised. It’s only when you ask the customer support, they tell you.
They get 5 for price because they are quite cheap. Probably because of quality over quantity but you can get a really good deal at Blink Health.
Shipping gets 3 because they never really deliver the medications to your home. That is really unusual for an online pharmacy. They deliver the medications to a regular pharmacy near your home. You then have to go to that pharmacy with your prescription and pick up the order. The only good thing is that you can get quick overnight delivery.
They get a 4 for customer service as it is very average and the customer service can’t really do much regarding your shipment or payment system.
They get a 3 for ease of use. Yes, you can easily pay with your credit card and PayPal, but you must have a prescription or else you can’t pick up your order. The receiving pharmacy is given strict instructions not to release any medications without a valid prescription. I guess it’s the jurisdiction thing. Since Blink Health is a US local pharmacy, they can’t legally issue prescription medications without prescriptions.
4. Pills Point
|Quality of Medications||4|
|Price of Medications||4|
|Ease of Use||3|
Next in line is Pills Point. It is probably one of the oldest online pharmacies and they have been operating for about 12 years. It’s a Pakistan-based Pharmacy.
Quality of Medications gets 4 because though generic, they are good. The only problem is that they don’t tell it until you have received your package. And then you realize that they are generics.
Price gets a 4. They are relatively cheap and reasonable. Shipping gets a 3 because although they ship quite timely, the packaging is not that good and about 20-25% of the time, they are seized by the Customs. Also probably because the packages come from Pakistan and the US or UK Customs take extra precautions for packages arriving from there.
Customer service only gets 2. One reason is that they are really hard to communicate with. There is no phone number, email address, chat option on the site. Only after ordering, someone communicates with you via email. Communication also makes ease of use difficult and that’s why it gets a 3.
5. Hot Canadian Pharmacy
Now I know that it has not earned much respect lately, but Hot Canadian Pharmacy is still one of the best online pharmacy by reputation. However, their website is not operational. We hope they get back online soon.
We know that Canada is a close neighbor to the USA and that’s probably the reason why Hot Canadian Pharmacy got into trouble with the US Government.
Yes, it is a risky thing to buy prescription medications online. However, the bureaucracy surrounding our healthcare system is also very real. A good online pharmacy can solve a lot of your problems. We hope that this article helps.