PharmacyChecker Blog

Helping Americans Get The Truth About Prescription Drug Savings
Published by: has been mentioned and recommended in many articles and news stories over the years, but it’s really gratifying when a medical professional/writer recommends us, even if they recommend the other guy first! Here’s why.

In an article published in, called “How to Find an Online Pharmacy You Can Trust,” Michael Bihari, MD, writes: “Several organizations, including the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) and PharmacyChecker, evaluate online drugstores for the quality of the services they provide. Both organizations reject the majority of Internet pharmacies.” [Emphasis added]. Indeed, according to sources cited by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), there are about 35,000 Internet pharmacies. The Verification Program has 75 and the NABP’s  program has 64 approved pharmacy websites.

The article was published in Verywell. It’s a consumer health information website that is operated by Verywell is dedicated to providing “reliable, understandable information on hundreds of health and wellness topics.” What is potentially extra special about Verywell is that its “articles are not only written by experienced doctors, therapists, nurses, and other experts, but vetted for accuracy by board-certified physicians.” Admittedly, I write “potentially” because I noticed a lot of pharmaceutical company ads on Verywell and that can lead to bias.

Dr. Bihari first covers the NABP’s Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites (VIPPS) program. VIPPS is open to U.S. online pharmacies that fill orders through licensed U.S. pharmacies but “NABP rejects all foreign online drugstores even if they are legitimate and provide a high level of service.” It’s the program backed and recommended by the FDA.

According to Dr. Bihari, PharmacyChecker is open to international online pharmacies as well as domestic-only U.S. online pharmacies, which is all too true. He writes: “PharmacyChecker provides some assurance that you are dealing with legitimate companies that are properly licensed in their home country.” We do much more than that – but the gist of his message is correct.

Dr. Bihari notes that pharmacies in VIPPS might be better for generic drug prices, which are often lowest in the U.S. On the other hand, international online pharmacies sell branded medication at much lower prices than local U.S. pharmacies. But his comparison doesn’t go far enough. Unlike VIPPS, visitors to our site can compare drug prices, which now include local U.S. pharmacy prices on generics using a prescription discount card.

The article notes the legal prohibitions against personal drug importation (buying and importing medication from a foreign pharmacy for personal use only) but does not state that individuals are not prosecuted for doing so. In other words, if you live in the U.S., it’s entirely legal for you to buy medication from a VIPPS-approved online pharmacy – but you might not be able to afford the medication, especially if it’s a brand name drug. On the other hand, if you buy medication internationally for personal import from an online pharmacy approved in the PharmacyChecker Verification Program, you may be technically breaking the law, but you can at least afford your medication, stay healthy and save a lot of money.

We here at PharmacyChecker know that many doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers recommend our information service to their American patients who are struggling with drug prices. They are on the frontlines, witnessing every day the despair and frustration people are feeling because of high drug prices. Healthcare providers are bound by medical ethics first and foremost. Many realize and respect that their patients are going online to find affordable medication from outside the country – despite the federal prohibitions.

One nurse in Texas wrote the following, which I think sums it all up.

“At our local clinic, we never want to hurt our local hometown pharmacy’s business, but if it comes down to a patient being able to afford to take a necessary medication or go without, we choose to help them out by referring them to”

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