An online drugstore is a drugstore that markets its products via the internet and fulfils the orders of its customers either through mail or shipping firms. Legitimate online drugstores may operate from the same place from where the individual placing an order resides or from another place. However, unlawful online drugstores are also in existence that sell counterfeit or expired medicines and not adhere to the normal procedural safeguards.
Few customers prefer online pharmacies to community pharmacies as it seems more convenient to them as going to a community drugstore.
Fulfillment of orders by way of home delivery
Home delivery of medicines and other medicinal products may come with desirable convenience; however, at times it may be faced with the issue of uncontrolled distribution. The shipment of drugs through mail as well as parcel post may be a cause of concern for temperature-sensitive medicinal products. Uncontrolled shipping conditions may include low as well as high temperatures that falls outside the range of the mentioned storage conditions for a medicine. For instance, as seen by the United States Food and Drug Administration (US FDA), in sunlight, the temperature in a mail box could go up to 136 degree Fahrenheit or 58 degree Celsius, though the ambient air temperature was 101 degree Fahrenheit or 38 degree Celsius.
Shipment of drugs and other medicinal products through couriers and express mail bring down the time taken in transit and generally involves doorstep delivery. The usage of insulated shipping containers helps in controlling the temperature of the drug, thus lowering the risk to drug efficacy as well as safety.
What risk factors need to be taken into consideration during online shipment of drugs?
Some of the concerns and risks associated with online shipment of pharmaceutical products may include the following:
- Sometimes, an online drugstore may be located in another country than what has been stated. For instance, a study of medicine shipments that claimed to be from Canada showed that it actually originated in various other countries and were generally poor-quality or counterfeit drugs.
- Unethical or illegitimate drug stores may, at times send substituted, outdated or fake medicines.
- There is a possibility of children below the age of eighteen years placing an order for controlled substances in the absence of adult supervision.
- Other concerns many include improper packaging, potential lack of confidentiality and also inability to check for drug interactions.