Before You Buy, Verify
Beware of fraudulent and unsafe prescription medication sold on websites and social media platforms.
Search for a website to see if it is safe or not recommended:
Download an Excel list of safe pharmacy websites.
Safe Online Pharmacies
It is essential to stay informed about safe ways to buy medication. Buying prescription medicine online or through social media may seem to cost less, but it can put you, or your loved ones, at risk. Make sure a website is reputable to safely order prescription drugs and medicine online.
NABP has identified more than 38,000 websites that fail to comply with NABP patient safety and pharmacy practice standards, or applicable laws.
Nearly 95 percent of websites offering prescription-only drugs online operate illegally.
89 percent of illegal online pharmacies reviewed by NABP did not require a prescription for the sale of prescription-only medicine.
Less than 5 percent of consumers are aware of tools to help them find safe online pharmacies, according to Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies.
Purchase Medication From Legitimate Websites
Safe, verified online pharmacies will meet the following requirements:
- Be licensed by regulators in the jurisdiction in which they are located, as well as regulators in the patient’s jurisdiction
- Accept only valid prescriptions
- Comply with applicable drug laws and professional practice laws
- Provide readily accessible contact information for patient care inquiries
- Comply with privacy laws and ensure patient confidentiality
Verify Before You Buy: Check the Safe Site Search Tool
To protect yourself when ordering medications online, use NABP’s Safe Site Search Tool. You can check whether a website is verified by NABP or not recommended by searching for the web address.
Another way to find a verified website is to look for .pharmacy at the end of the web address. When a website ends in .pharmacy, it has been verified by NABP. Unlike logos, the .pharmacy domain cannot be faked or forged.
For those interested in applying for a .pharmacy domain, visit our main website.
NABP’s Not Recommended List
NABP identifies a website as Not Recommended when, upon review, it appears to be out of compliance with NABP patient safety and pharmacy practice standards, or applicable law. Some Not Recommended websites do not sell drugs directly. Instead, they refer patients to websites that operate in violation of NABP patient safety and pharmacy practice standards, or applicable law.
Not Recommended websites commonly facilitate:
- the sale of prescription-only medicine without requiring a valid prescription;
- the sale of medicine that has not been approved or authorized for sale in the patient’s jurisdiction;
- the practice of pharmacy without required licensure in all relevant jurisdictions.
If you believe your website is mistakenly included on the NRL, email email@example.com to request information about NABP’s appeals process.
If a website you visited is suspicious, but is not currently listed as Not Recommended, report it.
Risks of Buying From an Unverified Website
- Receiving bogus medication that fails to treat your medical condition
- Receiving pills with dangerous fillers, such as drywall and rat poison
- Buying drugs that have not been authorized for sale by your country’s medicine agency
- Falling victim to fraud and identity theft
- Exposing your computer to malware
Some illegal online pharmacies pretend to be based in Canada to give the illusion of more stringent regulations and safer drugs, but they may be based in countries without the regulatory safeguards found in the US and Canada. Read more in NABP’s Rogue Rx Activity Report.
Learn more about Charlie’s story from Song for Charlie, a family-run nonprofit charity dedicated to raising awareness about the emerging dangers of self-medication and casual drug use in the fentanyl era.
Other online drug sellers sell deadly pills laced with fentanyl. These dangerous medications are often sold through social media platforms and target adolescents and young adults. Fentanyl-laced pills have been found in every state and are linked to numerous deaths throughout the US. According to Drug Enforcement Administration, fentanyl is up to 50 times more powerful than heroin. A dose of only 2 milligrams, the size of two grains of salt, is fatal for most people.
- DEA released the 2020 National Drug Threat Assessment with their findings about the threats drugs pose.
- Song for Charlie published a summary about the “fentapill” problem.
- Read more about the findings from a study about detecting illegal opioid sales on Twitter.
- Start the conversation about buying medications safely online with sample social media posts and newsletter article.