Online pharmacies and generic medications
Finding trustworthy online pharmacies for medications you need
Generic vs brand name medications
Many medications available online are currently available in generic form that can lead to significant savings over brand-name varieties. This means that you don’t have to spend large amounts of money to have your medication needs met.
However, many people feel discouraged from buying generic drugs online due to concerns propagated by mainstream media. To what degree is mainstream media influenced by major advertisers such as big pharmaceutical companies? Big Pharma naturally wants you to continue buying their branded drugs.
With some investigation, many of these concerns regarding counterfeit drugs and other online scams turn out to be groundless.Although there may be instances of counterfeit drugs being sold as generic versions or even bonafide brand-name versions, the instance of this is believed to be extremely rare. The reason for this is simple economics.
Why counterfeit drugs online are hard to find
It appears more and more the case that buying generic medications online, particularly on a computer, could be the most sensible and cost-saving choice for most people. It may be far better to acquire generic or branded medications. The pharmaceutical industry claim it is too risky to purchase generic medicines as you don’t know exactly what you are getting.
There is no end of advertisements, infomercials, and general media talk about the dangers of buying drugs online. But do the facts support the warnings? By and large no, the facts do not support the degree of gear-mongering about online pharmacies the public is subjected to.
There are two significant factors to take into account when assessing the risks of buying prescription medications from online pharmacies.
First is the fact that the bulk of costs to drug manufacturers is not the ingredients but the actual production, packaging and shipping of pills to the customer. What this means in essence is that it it not much more profitable to sell counterfeit or low-quality medications than to sell genuine high quality generic versions. There is little if any economic incentive to cheat the customer.
Add that to the fact that the bulk of online pharmacy profits comes from repeat customers. The best way to encourage repeat customers is to provide high quality medications at competitive prices with good customer services. The bottom line is that for an online pharmacy to be successful it must provide quality medications at competitive prices with excellent customer service.
How to tell between good online pharmacies and online scams
Online pharmacies are like any other business online and offline – they are in business to make money and grow.
As outlined above, the success of an online pharmacy largely depends on a growing repeat customer base. A repeat customer base in turn depends on quality drugs delivered for competitive prices and good customer service.
So what are the signs of a trustworthy online pharmacy you can feel confident to order medications from?
Trustworthy online pharmacies include:
- a secure site with security certification (https)
- 256bit or higher encryption on the checkout page to protect payment details from leakage
- options for insured and tracked delivery
- a prompt to establish an account for ease of repeat orders
- clear descriptions of all drugs sold along with extra information on dosage and use
- a live chat option to ask questions and receive prompt and claer answers
- online consultation / prescriptions services for controlled drugs
Fly-by-night online pharmacy scams with have few if any of the signs of a bonefide online pharmacy listed above.
The difference between patented drugs and generic versions
The only real difference between a generic drug and the brand name drug is the name… and the cost. Appearance my differ slightly but generic drugs consist of exactly the same active ingredient as branded versions.
For instance, both generic and branded version of the popular erectile dysfunction pill Viagra contains Sildenafil Citrate. Of course Big Pharma claims that their brand name drug is somehow superior to a generic version, or at least more secure.
However in most cases this is simply not true. In fact, in most countries, generic pills must be fully equivalent to the brand name version in their medicinal properties and outcomes.
However, there are good reasons why brand-name medications are more expensive than generic medicines. The companies that patent the medication initially have significant research and development bills which they have to cover.
This explains why they are allowed to patent the new medicine for a period of time, so that they can profit from it exclusively and recompense their investments.
They then launch massive advertising campaigns to promote the new drug. Consequently their market saturation is extensive and profits soar. Consequentially the price gets raised to cover these promotion too because having the exclusive patent, these companies can charge what they like.
To avoid excessive market manipulation and price gauging, patent expire after a certain time, depending on the jurisdiction. Some jurisdictions such as India do not recognize drug patents at all. This last fact partially explains why India has grown to become the generic drug manufacturing powerhouse of the world. Not simply generic drugs, but also India pharmaceutical industry manufactures and large potion of the patented drugs as well. Many Indian pharmaceutical firms produce both generic and patented versions of the same drug for shipping to different markets in different jurisdictions.
Drugs available online and patent protection
Regardless, makers of generic have the same costs as makers of patented drugs. The difference for the consumer is that once the extra patent costs are applied the cost of drug can sometimes increase 10 fold or more.There have been examples of Big Pharma increasing the cost of its drugs to ridiculous levels. One USA-based pharmaceutical company raised the price of a life-saving drug 6,000%.
Generic drugs can keep costs low because the research is finished marketing costs are low since the medication is now well-established. Also generic medications are just as cheap to manufacture as patented ones. This is mainly due to the fact that the ingredients used to make the medications are usually not expensive.
But costs are also lowered because many generic medications are made in laboratories abroad where production costs are far less. However, these generic drug manufacturing companies are still under strict regulation.
In the UK generic drugs are over-viewed and supported by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). Most doctors and pharmacists in Britain will prescribe generic drugs preferentially when they’re available, in order to cut costs for the NHS.
By contrast, in America there are issues regarding generic medications due to strict legislation which offers protection to brand name drugs. Some say this is the result of lobbying by the pharmaceutical industry.
Yet across the border in Canada, the state of play is similar to the UK. Generic drugs are freely available.
Remember, generic treatments are only allowed to be marketed once the first patent has run its course. This creates differences between countries. The USA permits copyrighting to last for much longer times than in the UK and Europe.
For example, in the UK and Europe the patent for Viagra expired in in 2013. In Canada, Pfizer’s patent on Viagra was actually removed in 2012 because the courts decided that Pfizer had violated patent laws by not disclosing the crucial ingredient of Viagra.
However, in the USA, Pfizer’s Viagra patent had been extended till 2020 but was later rolled back . Generic Viagra has been legally available in the USA since 2017.
So you see that the debate over generic versus brand-name medications is not one of health and well-being, but of money and profit.
The advantage of online pharmacies
As noted above there exists also a lot of unfounded fear-mongering about buying generic medications on the internet. Prices are often much cheaper when you buy from online pharmacies than from going to the local drug store in person.
This doesn’t necessarily mean there’s something suspicious happening.
The simple fact is that some on-line pharmacies only operate on-line. They are without store fronts to support and so they have clearly lower overhead costs. Lower overhead costs means lower prices for the consumer.
Another way some on-line pharmacies keep costs down is by sourcing their generic medications directly from the manufacturers. This allows them to sell the medicines on to the buyer at cheaper prices.
They can also operate at far lower profit margins per sale than the high street drugstores. Due to the reach of the internet, a much wider customer base and turnover is possible. This fact is reflected in the lower prices available online.
For many people, one of the big benefits of buying some medications on-line is that often you don’t need to have a physician’s prescription first. Some people may believe that buying drugs online without first having a doctor’s prescription is illegal. This is not the case.
In most jurisdiction it is now legal and safe to acquire a prescription via online consultation as part of the checkout process. The information gathered by this consultation is reviewed bay a qualified specialist and the order is either approved or rejected.
As noted above, all trustworthy online pharmacies will require you to complete and submit a medical consultation when ordering controlled drugs.
A few online pharmacies charge extra for this service. Most bonafide online pharmacies provide this service for no extra charge however. If you, for whatever reason, are not approved for the medication, no charge is made.