She could deal with constantly forgetting her shopping list, and she'd made
a habit of writing down where she'd parked her car, each and every time. But in
her mid-50s, Janis Mara's memory problems started costing her money. Late fees
began piling up because she forgot to pay her bills.
"Over time, it really intensified," she says. "I wanted to think
I was just getting older, but my fear was that it was Alzheimer's."
After bugging her HMO for an MRI, Mara discovered that her lapses weren't
In this article, WebMD helps you find the real deals at mail-order and online pharmacies.
Mail-Order Pharmacies = Convenience and Lower Costs
Many insurers and some retail pharmacies now offer drugs by mail order. These companies ship prescribed drugs to your home so you don’t have to pick them up in person. Often you can get a three-month supply at a reduced cost. The convenience and savings can pay off in surprising ways. Kaiser Permanente in Oakland found that patients who used its mail-order pharmacy were more likely to take the drugs as prescribed.
4 Signs of a Legitimate Pharmacy Web Site
U.S. Location and License
Pharmacies that operate in the U.S. undergo heavy scrutiny in order to be licensed by state boards of pharmacy. "There are a lot of legitimate mail-order pharmacies in this country," says Richard Sagall, MD, president of NeedyMeds, a Massachusetts nonprofit that provides information about financial assistance for drugs.
Verified Pharmacy Practice Site The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy® (NABP®) inspects Internet pharmacies and awards a "VIPPS" seal (Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites™ Seal) to those that meet its criteria. But watch out, some rogue sites flaunt fake seals. You can look up VIPPS-accredited pharmacies on the NABP web site.
Prescription Required Any trustworthy pharmacy will insist on a prescription from a health care provider who has seen you in person. That doctor can monitor you for any side effects from the drug. "Some side effects are so subtle you won’t be aware of them," says Sagall, "like an electrolyte imbalance that you can only detect by doing blood work."
Real People on the Phone You should be able to talk with a human being, including a licensed pharmacist, to answer questions about your prescription.