Is It Safe to Buy Drugs in Foreign Pharmacies?

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  • Written By: Alex Tree
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 10 November 2019
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Foreign pharmacies, particularly online foreign pharmacies, have become popular due to low prices and convenience. While purchasing drugs from such a pharmacy might be risky, it can be safe if done through a reputable company. A disreputable foreign pharmacy might be unlicensed, selling counterfeit drugs or selling drugs that should not be taken unless a health professional has advised a patient to do so. Online pharmacies are often known to offer low prices, but these prices can change quickly, or the pharmacy might add hidden fees to the total cost, thereby eliminating any savings the customer thought he or she was getting. In addition, such a pharmacy might not safeguard a customer’s private information.

It is highly recommended to purchase from a licensed pharmacy rather than an unlicensed one. Unlicensed foreign pharmacies may be operating illegally and rarely hold themselves to the same standards as licensed pharmacies. In fact, an unlicensed pharmacy is more likely to sell counterfeit drugs. These drugs might be similar to the drugs they are attempting to imitate, or they might be diluted, completely inert, or laced with dangerous substances.


Some foreign pharmacies sell drugs that should only be taken when a patient is under the supervision of a health professional. These drugs are often habit-forming, easy to overdose on, or both. Dangerous drugs are sold in a foreign pharmacy when there are no laws in that country prohibiting their sales or if the local government does not actively reinforce those laws. Either way, if a drug is potentially habit-forming or dangerous, it should not be purchased in a foreign pharmacy.

Many foreign online pharmacies offer tempting prices on normally expensive drugs. Sometimes, their goal is simply to attract customers and sell legitimate drugs. Other times, the deal is essentially a scam where one or more fees is applied at check-out. If the good price is actually given, the drugs are sometimes counterfeit or generic.

Lastly, giving a foreign pharmacy information via email, phone, or even in person can lead to that information being given or sold to other companies. To avoid this, the customer should deal only with reputable pharmacies and be careful about signing forms that give the pharmacy a legal right to release private information. If ordering through a website, the website might not be secure, leading to other people gaining access to previously secure financial information. This leaves the customer open to identify theft and a ruined credit history.


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