Community Health

On-line Pharmacies

Validity of online pharmacies can be tough to determine. Some online pharmacies are extensions of conventional chain drug stores while others are standalone businesses. The FDA has some suggestions for finding good online pharmacies.

  • The website should list contact information. This information can be cross-referenced with the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) on their website at
  • You should also be able to contact the pharmacy by phone. If no contact information is listed, it is best to avoid using it.
  • All pharmacies, whether online or not, can only dispense prescription medications in accordance with a prescription. This medication must be serving a legitimate medical purpose. If an online pharmacy does not require a prescription, do not use it. Be sure to verify how prescriptions should be sent to the pharmacy.
  • Dietary supplements are not intended to prevent, treat, or cure any disease. Any claims made by pharmacies about their dietary supplements doing any of these things are unsubstantiated.
  • Reputable online pharmacies should allow you to communicate directly with a licensed pharmacist.
  • Beware of administrative fees and any additional charges that may apply to your order.

Before using an online pharmacy, be sure you are familiar with the procedures they use to handle insurance information, privacy, refills, medication storage during shipping, and damage occurring during shipping. 


The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) reviews websites that sell prescription medications. They have created three categories to describe the websites.

  • Recommended Internet Pharmacies: These sites have been reviewed by the NABP and have received their approval. These sites will display the image shown below to state that they are a Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Site (VIPPS).
  • Reviewed Internet Pharmacy Practice Site: The NABP has reviewed the public information on these sites and they appear to be in compliance with state and federal laws. The NABP advises patients to use these sites with caution.
  • Not Recommended Site: The NABP has reviewed the site and it seems to not comply with state and federal regulations or NABP safety and pharmacy practice standards.

When using the internet to purchase your prescription medications look for the VIPPS seal or consult the NABP website at for a listing of recommended online pharmacies. is an independent company that reviews online pharmacies. They have verified the pharmacies on their roster for quality and compliance with appropriate local pharmacy boards. checkerThey also search for the best prices on medications. Online pharmacies must pay a fee to be reviewed by, and therefore their list of pharmacies is not a complete and comprehensive list of valid online pharmacies. The website is free to use to search for drug prices by pharmacy. Paying members have access to additional discounts and services through the website. Look for the seal on online pharmacies.