Top 3 Controversial Questions Answered About Ordering from Foreign Pharmacies

Is it legal to order prescription drugs from foreign pharmacies? When you hear that drug prices are cheaper in Canada or overseas, is it too good to be true? Is it safe to order prescription drugs from foreign sources? When it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. But in this case, it may not be.

• Is It Legal?

Hundreds of thousands of people each day are ordering prescriptions from foreign pharmacies to cut down on their high prescription drug costs. Although the FDA does not “encourage” the importation of foreign drugs, they permit the importation of a 90 day, personal supply. The reason the FDA cannot strictly regulate the importation of prescription drugs from overseas is because the number of people that import drugs from overseas has grown so large that the FDA cannot crack down on every import. The FDA knows that people are not going to stop importing their medication, so they have been giving them tips and guidelines to make sure they find a safe pharmacy to import them from. If you visit the FDA website http://www.fda.gov/buyonline/, you will find articles that will give you incite on what to look out for when buying your medication online from foreign sources.

• Are Drugs Cheaper from Foreign Pharmacies?

In one word, yes. The reason for the price difference is that the United States is the only modern country that does not have price controls. Alan Holmer, the president and CEO of Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America says, “The principal problem with price controls is you have limitations on access to medicines, and you don’t have the newest most innovative treatments.” But when asked in a report by ABC’s John McKenzie, “representatives of the pharmaceutical industry could only identify eight drugs not available on Canadian shelves, and three of those are contraceptives.” On top of not having price controls, the pocket books of American drug companies are so deep, they have a heavy influence on the laws that are passed. Even Dan Burton, the state representative from Indiana said, “There’s no question in my mind that the (FDA) is too dependent on the pharmaceutical industry for their attitudes and decision-making.”

• Is it Safe to Order Prescription Drugs from Foreign Sources?

Many people believe that there is a quality loss in the drugs purchased from foreign sources. In some cases this could be true. There are some pharmacies online that are out to get you, or that sell inferior medications. If you are careful and make sure that you purchase from licensed, well established online pharmacies, you will find that the drug quality is just as high from a foreign pharmacy as it is in the US. A report by the Congressional Research Service supports this theory. The report found that medications that are manufactured and distributed in Canada meet the same high quality standards that are set forth by the FDA.

A good resource in finding affordable, quality overseas and Canadian pharmacies is Freebeeforeignpharmacy.com. Freebee is a pharmacy resource website that offers overseas and Canadian pharmacy ratings and reviews. Freebee has a quality rating system that is devised of feedback left from current and previous members and it may also serve as a consumer advocacy watchdog group, taking much of the risk out of buying your medications online. This helps weed out the unreliable rogue pharmacies along with much of the worry and stress related to buying prescription drugs from overseas.

Stay Safe by Using Online Pharmacy Reviews

Online pharmacies are all the rage in buying medicine, what with the ease people can get pills over the much-glorified Internet without having to travel a block or so to reach an actual pharmacy. Often, these websites employ their own in-house physicians whose job is to analyze a customer’s condition and prescribe the appropriate medication – a welcomed assist for people who find visiting the local doctor very inconvenient, too costly, or both.

With that in mind, though, all good things do come with an inherent risk tag attached to them. While most online pharmacy sites sell prescription pills only to people with an actual prescription, it is safe to say that there are some that do not enforce that practice. Thus, some people turn to them in order to acquire medication that they otherwise would not have been able to purchase, which can possibly be a dangerous proposition. One also runs the risk of ordering medication from fraudulent online pharmacies that charge payment but do not send the goods. Still, some may encounter very unprofessional sites.

Online Pharmacy Reviews Secures You

Enter the saviors for most online pharmacy customers: the online pharmacy review websites. They act as the watchdogs of the online pharmacy game, scrutinizing each and every one of the pharmacy sites and then relaying their findings to prospective clients through virtual online pharmacy guides. These so-called “guides” suggest the best and most reliable sites to do business with, as well as raise the red flags on those they deem to be inadequate and untrustworthy. The criteria they use for judging online pharmacies vary from website to website, but mostly it revolves around these factors: product quality, shipment, support, and overall reliability.

It is often a good idea to check with these review sites to be able to filter the best from the wide range of e-drugstores on the web. Researches say that since 1998, the online pharmacy industry has been growing exponentially – by 2010, it is estimated that the number of pharmacy sites will rise to around ten thousand.
Online pharmacy reviews are definitely not to be taken carelessly by pharmacy websites. Independent studies generally show that the reviews put forth by these review sites have considerable influences on the consumer shopping behavior. Not just that, most of them employ people who have professional expertise on the field to write the best pharmacy reviews. This is to insure quality for consumers that the review writers possess the necessary qualifications and transparency to back up what they say in their reviews, and are not just random people in the employ of online pharmacy companies seeking to advance business or destroy other websites.

The User Input Factor

However, what probably is the best characteristic of online pharmacy reviews is its ability to convey feedback from those who actually had the experience of buying from online pharmacies. Such information is indispensable, as a reader will be able to decide what site to patronize in light of the writer’s experiences. Granted, not all of the user reviews are perfect – some are just out to tarnish a company’s reputation – but they do help.

This is the reason why the same users are encouraged to become more transparent about their personal information and whether they have actually bought pills from an online pharmacy, so as to assure quality reviews – and most respond positively. Close criticism by independent researchers generally find that user ratings are usually uncannily accurate, although they say that these are just a listing of opinions and should be judged as such. Thus, those who read online pharmacy reviews are advised to consume them with a grain of salt.

Learn More About Online Pharmacy Technician Schools

If you want to pursue a career as a pharmacy technician, it is imperative to get the best training. Today, pharmacy technician schools come in handy and offer a wide selection from which, students can choose the best school for their training. You can train offline or online. Online schools provide an opportunity for students to study on a flexible schedule depending on their programs. They are an excellent alternative to brick and mortal pharmacy schools because they are flexible and convenient. You can get your certification within a short span of time by choosing the best online school.

Online pharmacy technician schools offer basic training that will enable you to step into pharmacy tech world confidently. This is because they have learning resources that aid your training. You can study at the comfort of your home, interact with students from different parts of the globe and get live and personalized lectures. Today, a student can chat with a lecturer via Skype and seek clarifications where necessary. Such tools enhance learning and prepare you for a competitive pharmacy tech job market.

Pharmacy technician schools also provide quality practical training to students. This is because most schools work with different hospitals and arrange internship for the students. You can go for internship in a hospital near your location while other schools can place you in a foreign country. This is custom made to ensure students get the best practical experience and be in a better position to deliver exemplary services once they get jobs. Online schools offer quality training and quality certification depending on a program that you settle for. Pharmacy programs include certificate, diploma and degree programs. Therefore, you only need to define your career goals and settle for a program that addresses your career needs best. More importantly, you must choose a good school to enhance your chances of getting the best training.

Factors to consider when choosing a school
When choosing an online pharmacy tech school, it is imperative to do a background search about the school. Know whether it is accredited or not, its reputation, the quality of certifications it offers and the programs it offers. Choose a well reputed school that has produced some of the best pharmacy technicians in the market. It should offer quality and valuable training to enhance your chances of getting a good job in the future. More importantly, define your career goals and settle for a school that meets your personal needs best.

Tips For Buying Quality Medicines Online

Internet pharmacy refers to a drug store that provides pharmaceutical services to people over the Internet. These services include filling of prescriptions, sale of drugs, expert consultation and various drug related information over the web. The growing demand of drugs coupled with good services has led to a rapid growth of the online pharmacy industry. Over the past few years, this industry has become extremely competitive and thus in order to survive, many online pharmacies have resorted to improper means to fulfill their business targets. These unethical online pharmacies get away with good profit margins and leave the patients suffering and paying up for inferior drugs and poor service. Therefore the onus lies with the patients to carefully scrutinize and check before placing an order with an Internet pharmacy.

To place an order with an online pharmacy, one needs to compile a list of all the quality online pharmacies. Using a search engine to locate an Internet pharmacy is a good option. Type in the drug name or any other pharmacy related keyword and the search engine would return a list of online pharmacies to choose from. Browse through these online pharmacies and choose the one that meets the requirements. Patients can even seek help from medicine search engines that generate a comparative list of various pharmacies selling the requested drugs. This not only saves precious time but also helps the patients to select and order from the best of the lot.

Price is one of the most important considerations that influences the decision to buy drugs from a specific pharmacy. Once the patient has got hold of a list of online pharmacies dealing in the required drug, it becomes relatively easy to compare the prices. Many online pharmacies offer attractive discounts along with special schemes for bulk purchases. It is advisable to take a note of all these and shortlist the pharmacies that offer competitive prices. Certain well established online pharmacies offer drugs at heavily discounted prices. Of these, Canadian Internet pharmacies are highly preferred owing to the reduced rates of their drugs.

One of the major advantages of buying drugs from an online pharmacy is the safe and secure mode of delivery. Unlike community drug stores, online pharmacies maintain strict levels of security with regard to the patients’ details. In most of cases, the ordered drugs are delivered within a day of filling up the online order form. Patients should check out the pharmacy website regarding the delivery details and can also refer to customer comments to gather more information about the quality of the services offered.

A good online pharmacy should offer added support services like drug interaction check and expert consultation. Taking multiple drugs can lead to adverse drug interactions. Online pharmacies offering drug interaction checking services, intimate the consumers about the possible hazards of consuming drugs that can lead to harmful drug interactions. Besides, the patients should be able to seek information regarding a specific drug through the online pharmacy and in return, can even get some valuable advice related to their queries.

Ordering from any well-established pharmacy, preferably a Canada drug pharmacy can be considered as a very good option due to the increased amount of savings resulting out of it. The favorable value of Canadian dollar and drug price control regulations imposed on prescription medicines by the Canadian government has resulted in greater savings and thus patients primarily from the United States, find it a lot cheaper to order medicines from Canadian online pharmacies.

Taking into consideration the above parameters, most people prefer to order their drugs from online pharmacies. With a little discretion on their part, patients will always have a reason to smile while availing the services of a quality Internet pharmacy.

Pharmacy Benefit Managers Can Help Firms Cut Costs

Are you a retail pharmacy chain or a managed care healthcare organization looking for investing in specialty pharmacy benefit management (PBM) solution for your organization? Then look no further because there are alternative approaches that suggest costs savings and more. A custom-made solution can be the right answer for your unique needs.

For doctors, medical practitioners, specialists, pharmacies, and self-insured employer groups around the world, investing in a comprehensive solution that can automate and streamline key business processes is becoming a top priority in healthcare delivery today. So what could be more solution-driven than an integrated application that offers the best way to build distinctive capabilities and optimize existing business operations in all care settings?

The short answer is: it depends. Mixed approaches blending various factors and elements and the fact that there’s no one size that fits all determine the value that ensures improved efficiency and effectiveness to a client. However, delivering patient benefits data through the electronic processing that creates a free and secure pathway for safer, faster and more cost-effective care collaboration and connectivity may be a better solution to minimize costs.

Enhanced Care Collaboration and Connectivity

Modern medical healthcare management is a complex challenge with the involvement of numerous overlapping parts wherein primary doctors, patients, payers, medical specialists, and health insurance providers have to build on ways to improve productivity in a timely, pharmacist-approved, on-demand medication dispensing right at the facility itself.

What do you get in the new paradigm of healthcare delivery that enhances overall patient and health system outcomes? While there are many advantages of a pharmacy benefit management solution that clients can avail of, but what they should really know if the downside is minimal. In this regard, a custom-made solution could be a safer bet as it can empower you to compete in the marketplace as well as enables you to stay more focused towards accomplishing quality of care for your clients and patients can contribute to saving time and contain costs – the two of the most essential aspects to sustain life in any healthcare setup.

As an important tool for many organizations in the healthcare industry, an efficient delivery platform can give you the hood to make sure you deliver: The Right Care, at The Right Time and For the Right Cost, smartly and efficiently. Going forward, a speciality solution that leans more towards value creation side can be identified as a priority tool in all medical settings. It can act as a crucial collaborative platform for healthcare organizations to become successful performers and be future-ready in the healthcare industry which managed over $300 billion in prescription drug-spending in the US last year. Therefore, a specialty system that combines pharmacy benefit management (PBM) solution and application service provider (ASP) processing services saves time and drives core financial improvement, increases service levels, improves productivity, adaptable to regulatory and demographic environments, and reduces costs, are changing the way business decisions are made today.

Investing in a solution that is safe, secure, and standards-compliant makes better sense. Additionally, an unified automated platform can demonstrate rapid turnaround and measureable expenditure savings. It can go a long way managing the entire operations of retail pharmacy chains. Solutions that are designed to help pharmacy benefit managers or managed care organizations to account for real-time high volume transaction-oriented operations easily and efficiently is the need of the hour.

One Size Doesn’t Fit All

Strategic growth in terms of operational and clinical programs, reduced healthcare spending, and above all enhanced patient safety has always been the fulcrum of change for healthcare companies looking to simplify the complexities in their operations. Therefore, in order to completely focus on the quality of care for patients, customers and communities, a robust system can go a long way to help medical setups/companies streamline processes in relation to all medical prescription-related routines, be it patient tracking, collecting and referring to pharmacy references, or even medical and surgical references.

One size doesn’t fit all. When it comes to custom-designed solution, it should be always done under specific requirements of the clients. Even specific circumstances dictate a solution requirement for a client. Sacrificing quality for cost savings does not work. For that matter, one that is fully integrated and custom-built can deliver a comprehensive solution that combines a best-in-class system to process claims, enrollment, requirements, inventory control systems, product evaluation & selection, medical management, including ERP & CRM systems, self-service applications and portal development. With a strategic solution at hand, healthcare practitioners can have increased control of their pharmacy benefit dollars, maximized cost control and quality of care.

Pharmacies and the healthcare firms, large and small, looking for ways to better serve their patients can embrace new and distinctive capabilities that are more agile and achieve consumer loyalty and clinical expertise to serve diverse patient populations. Having said that, before actually arriving at taking up a custom-made solution for implementation, clients should plan on taking a long-term look at how this can work for them to control costs and get control of benefits.

Going forward, if you are considering adding a web-based healthcare portal or a virtual inventory system that can operate effectively, efficiently and profitably, then investing in a specialty solution makes for a valuable and integral player in improving your overall healthcare delivery system. A pharmacy benefit management solution should work for you considering the kind of value addition it brings. It isn’t such a bad idea after all.

Online Canadian Pharmacies: A Patient’s Ultimate Preference

Over the past few years, the Internet pharmacies have become a major draw among the patients. These online pharmacies have had a far-reaching impact on the entire pharmaceutical business. A demand for better services than the age old traditional pharmacies and the manifold benefits offered by the Canadian Internet pharmacies have made them an instant favorite among the customers.

A lot of patients do not desire their medical status to be made public. Community drug stores operate in full public view and thus fall way short in fulfilling this parameter. On the other hand, an Internet pharmacy operates in a virtual world where the orders are placed online by the patient and subsequently the drugs are delivered at the patient’s doorsteps. The details related to a particular patient forms a part of the database maintained by the Internet pharmacy that is kept confidential and is inaccessible to the public.

The Canadian Internet pharmacies offer quality drugs at much lower prices as compared to that in the US market. This is primarily the result of strong price regulations imposed by the Canadian government on the pharmacies operating in Canada. Apart from that, the lower value of the Canadian dollar further brings down the cost of drugs. The availability of quality drugs at lower prices with attractive discounts has made the Canadian pharmacies a strong preference among the consumers.

Customers always desire for a convenient buying experience and the Internet pharmacies operating in Canada offers just the same. They boast of a strong technical infrastructure through which the orders are accepted over the Internet via a brief online order form. The drugs are subsequently dispatched to the customer so that the consignment reaches in time. Most pharmacies in Canada accept payments through Visa, MasterCard, Paystone and most other popular online payment methods.

The Canadian Internet pharmacies deal in a wide variety of drugs. This goes on to show the wide variety of drugs offered by the online pharmacies. Most Internet pharmacies provide a searchable index for their customers through which they can search their drug and subsequently place the order.

The Canadian Internet pharmacies are known for the superior consultation and support services provided by them. Most pharmacies have specially trained personnel who answers all the medical queries from patients. Customers who fill all their medicines from a single pharmacy are often extended the benefit of a drug interaction check. Consumption of multiple drugs may subject the patient to a possible harmful drug interaction, which is notified to the patient beforehand through a drug interaction check.

The above benefits have made the Canadian drug pharmacy a winner among the customers. Canadian pharmacies offer quality medicines at affordable rates that are delivered with full confidentiality and security at the patient’s doorsteps. These unmatched benefits and good quality standards have made the Canadian pharmacies a strong choice among the customers.

Online Pharmacies and Telemedicine

Not a day goes by when our email inboxes do not fill with advertisements for prescription drugs. Many of these emails promise to deliver drugs of all classes by overnight courier without a prescription. While there are legitimate online pharmacies, and the practice of telemedicine or cyber-medicine is gaining acceptance, this change in the way medicine is being practiced is rocking the foundations of the medical establishment. Being able to consult a doctor online, and obtain prescription drugs delivered to your doorstep by UPS has broad social and legal implications. The Internet facilitates making drugs available to those who may not be able to afford to pay US prices, are embarrassed to see a doctor face-to-face, or are suffering from pain, the treatment of which puts most doctors in direct conflict with the ‘war on drugs’ but on the other hand there is the question whether these pharmacies make drugs available to recreational drug users without the oversight of a licensed medical practitioner.

The Need for Alternatives

Medical care in the US has reached a point where it is expensive and impersonal which has caused the consumer to become generally unsatisfied with the medical establishment as a whole. Examples include the huge differences between the cost of drugs in the US and Canada, long wait times in US pharmacies, and poor service in general. Perhaps realizing this, US customs appears to tolerate the millions of Americans that visit Canada every year to buy their medications, as for the most part, these ‘drug buyers’ are elderly American’s that can’t afford the high cost of filling their prescriptions in the US.

Rather than to travel to Canada or Mexico millions of Americans are now turning to the Internet for both their medical needs. Telemedicine (or cyber medicine) provides consumers with the ability to both consult with a doctor online and order drugs over the Internet at discounted prices. This has resulted in consumers turning to online pharmacies for their medical needs, and in particular pharmacies with a relationships with a physician, which allow the consumer to completely bypass the traditional brick and mortar pharmacies, with the added benefit of having their physician act as an intermediary between the consumer and the pharmacy. According to Johnson (2005) this is as a result of consumers becoming very dissatisfied when it comes to dealing with both brick and mortar pharmacies and medical practitioners. As Johnson, notes, “Consumers are more likely to know the name of their hairdresser than their pharmacist.” When Johnson (2005) rated the various professions within the health care system, he found that pharmacists had the lowest interaction with their patients than did any other group. Today, as a result of this “consumers are buying 25.5 percent of their prescriptions online, opposed to 13.5 percent of which are picked up at a brick and mortar pharmacy” (Johnson 2005).

Drugs and Society

What has brought so much attention to online pharmacies is that it is possible to obtain just about any drug without a prescription online. Many of these prescriptions are for legitimate purposes purchased through an online pharmacy because the buyer is too embarrassed to visit the doctor or for other reasons including the unavailability of FDA approved drugs to the consumer. These drugs may include steroids that due to their misuse and being classed as a classed a category three drugs, are seldom prescribed by physicians. These drugs have a useful purpose to those suffering from any wasting disease such as AIDS, they also play a role in ant-aging (FDA, 2004).

The Doctor Patient Relationship

Today a visit to a doctor is generally brief, much of the triage it is done by a nurse or a nurse practitioner with the doctor only dropping in for a few minutes, if at all. In many cases the patient is seen by a nurse practitioner. One of the arguments against telemedicine or perhaps a better term is cyber-medicine, is that the doctor does not have a physical relationship with the patients and thus is in no position to make a diagnosis, and thus can not legally prescribe drugs.

Ironically when one compares the work up that one has to go through to consult with an online physicians and compares this to a face-to-face visit with a brick and mortar doctor, one finds that the online physician, in many cases, has a better understanding of the patient’s medical condition than does the doctor who meets face-to-face with the patient. In most cases before an on-line a doctor prescribes any type of medication they insist on a full blood workup they may also require that one has additional tests performed, for example.

The AMA, the federal government, and various states claim, however, that it is illegal for a doctor to prescribe drugs without a valid doctor-patient relationship. While there are no laws at present that outlaw online pharmacies, various states have enacted legislation, or are in the process of enacting legislation to prohibit a doctor from prescribing drugs to a patient that they have not seen face to face. Some states also require that the doctor that prescribes the drugs be licensed in their state. This alone could hamper the development of cyber-medicine. According to William Hubbard (2004), FDA associate commissioner “The Food and Drug Administration says it is giving states first crack at legal action, though it will step in when states do not act” (FDA, 2004).

Internet Pharmacies

The reason that email boxes around the country fill up with offers to supply drugs of all kinds, at reduced prices, without prescriptions, and more is because people buy them as the billions of dollars the drug companies are making each year attest to. The Internet has become the drug store of choice for many.

Categories of Internet Pharmacies

Internet pharmacies are generally acknowledged to be comprised of the following five categories:

Internet pharmacies can be divided up into five different categories, as follows:

Licensed online pharmacies with a no medical affiliation.

Licensed online pharmacies with a medical affiliation

No record online pharmacies (NRP)

International online pharmacies (IOP)

Licensed compounding pharmacies

The licensed online pharmacies with a no medical affiliation are of course Drugstore.com, CVV, and others. They all require a prescription from a licensed doctor that the patient has a doctor patient relationship with. The prescription can be called in by the doctor.

The licensed online pharmacies with a medical affiliation often depend on a broker. The broker collects your medical information, and then assigns your case to one of their networked physicians. Many of these networked physicians are willing to prescribe pain killers as they believe that it is only through the use of these drugs that some people can live a harmonious life.

A Government Accountability Office (GAO) Committee on aging held in June 2004 found that “Unlicensed international pharmacies do not require a prescription, and are generally located off shore.” No prescription pharmacies can be found all over the world. Many of these sites have come under controversy as in some cases all it takes to have that prescription delivered to you by next day air, is to fill out a questionnaire online.

A study conducted by Henkle in 2002 to ascertain how easy it would be to obtain drugs over the Internet found that “37 of the 46″ pharmacy required a prescription from a licensed doctor. The emphasis was on the prescription and not on the doctor. Henkle (2002) in fact notes that some sites offered to recommend a doctor.” Henkle (2002) was able to obtain prescription drugs from nine sites outside the US during the study, without a prescription.

Online pharmacies with a doctor affiliation

There are a number of online pharmacies, with a medical affiliation is that take great pain to differentiate themselves form unlicensed overseas pharmacies. These pharmacies, stress that they are “American based companies that provides consumer’s easy access to FDA approved online prescriptions over the Internet and are quick to point out that “An online consultation can be just as relevant as an in-person consultation.” It is interesting to note that many of these online pharmacies also point out that “While they are committed to making access to online prescriptions easier, they believe that the Internet can not replace the importance of regular doctor visits to fully evaluate your health and any medical conditions.” Many of these online pharmacy sites also makes a wealth of drug information available on its web site that enables the consumer to educate themselves on drugs that may have been prescribed. The Internet has for all intensive purposes is quickly replacing the brick and mortar base physician as a patient’s primary health care provider.

A sales pitch, of course, or is it? Most of the legitimate online pharmacies ensure that they comply with state and federal regulation. The doctors are licensed in all 50 states and their pharmacies are too. These legitimate Internet pharmacies cater to those that are looking for a better price; for some it comes down to making the choice of eating cat food on crackers in order to afford their medications because of the high US drug prices. In other cases patients resort to cyber-medicine to avoid the embarrassment of having to deal with a physician or pharmacy that may be judgmental. Many of these online pharmacies will arrange a consult with a licensed, medical doctor over the phone and will then fill the prescription accordingly.

According to Henkel (2000) “More and more consumers are using the Internet for health reasons” and references a study carried out by a market research firm Cyber Dialogue Inc., “that found that “health concerns are the sixth most common reason people go online” (Henkel 2000).

For many people a trip to the pharmacy is an ordeal. In some cases the local pharmacy may also be located in the closest town which may mean a long drive if one lives in a rural community. Online pharmacies provide a means through which their prescriptions can be delivered conveniently and quickly. Being online also allows the consumer to shop for the best prices, an important factor if one is living on a pension.

The Internet has also created a more aware user. It is not unusual for a consumer to research drugs on the Internet. A consumer may have seen a TV or magazine advertisement advertising a new drug. Ultimately, the Internet also provides the consumer the opportunity to enter into a doctor patient relationship that may in fact be more legitimate than the doctor who makes a physical appearance. Further information on doctors that practice telemedicine can be found at: http://www.becomeone.com

It is interesting to note, as discussed previously, that consumers are becoming dissatisfied with the care and treatment they receive from both brick and mortar physicians and pharmacies. Zanf (2001), references a study by Lang and Fullerton that “Identified four factors related to outpatient pharmacy services: professional communication, physical and emotional comfort, demographics, and location and convenience.” All of which are contributing factors as to why more and more consumers are resorting to cyber-medicine.

The Dark Side

There is also a dark side to the Internet pharmacy, as previously discussed, spam email touting the availability of any prescription drug one could want, without a prescription, is something everyone is familiar with has reached epidemic proportions.

From Ambien, and of course Viagra to more powerful drugs such as Oxycontin, you can have it all. Over night shipping is available in most case, or so these emails proclaim.
In some instances this pharmacy spam originates from unscrupulous individuals who have no intention of delivering the drugs, realizing that very few people, if any, will complain about the non delivery of an illegal drug through the mail.

In other cases the drugs are sent without a prescription from countries where that particular drug may legally be sold without a prescription, or at least the laws are more relaxed. Valium, for example, is sold over-the-counter in Taiwan.

According to Crawford (2004) “Consumers who purchase drugs online thinking that they are they are getting the same drugs as they would from their local brick-and-mortar pharmacy are being misled, and as a result are putting their health, and eventually their lives at risk” Crawford cites examples of Internet pharmacies supplying drugs that were under strength, contaminated and mislabeled (Crawford 2004).

According to Won (2005) Drug-industry executives think the Internet and mail-order operations will be the biggest source of counterfeit drugs over the next five years, according to a report released today by Ernst & Young. According to James G Dickinson (2005):

The federal government in July shut down an alleged illegal Internet pharmacy for selling counterfeit drugs and issued a warning on other counterfeits found to have been sold in Mexican border pharmacies to individual patients from the U.S. The Internet pharmacy had sold more than $7 million in counterfeit Viagra and other prescription drugs over the past five years, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. The San Diego-based operation required individuals to complete a $35 “doctor consultation” survey before receiving the prescriptions, but the survey was never shown to a health professional to evaluate whether a safety risk existed, the paper says (Dickson, 2005).

In a separate action, the FDA warned Americans about counterfeit versions of Merck’s cholesterol drug Zocor and generic Carisoprodol – used for treating musculoskeletal conditions – that had been imported from Mexico by individual Americans (FDA, 2005).

Over the last year patients suffering from pain, and other conditions that they are reluctant to see a doctor face-to-face, have had the option of consulting a doctor online. The ability to consult with a doctor online, and then to receive drugs as a result has come under much controversy. This has for the most part been as a result of not adequately screening patient’s records, or ordering from unregulated overseas pharmacies.

The Internet – a new way of marketing

Not all Internet pharmacies are illegitimate, however, and there are many pharmacies that provide the consumer with a legitimate prescription by overnight service. My last prescription came by mail. The whole transaction was completed over the Internet. It was a prescription that my doctor had given to me personally, however. As discussed, what constitutes a doctor patient relationship is at the crux of the online pharmacy debate. This of course has implications as to what constitutes a legitimate prescription. What constitutes a legitimate prescription is a hotly debated topic.

The Future

As noted, being able to consult a doctor over the phone, and then have one’s prescription filled by an Internet pharmacy is convenient for many people. As the American population ages, more and more people will have trouble getting to the doctors office, not to mention driving to the pharmacy. Clearly safeguards are needed if cyber-medicine is to raise the quality of medical care available to Americans. The online pharmaceutical industry has taken a number of steps to ensure that consumers are protected against unscrupulous online pharmacy operators including the certification of online pharmacies.

According to Henkel (2000) “One way consumers can ensure the quality of an online pharmacy is to look for the Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites (VIPPS) seal.” According to Henkel (2000) any site bearing this seal has gone through a rigorous series of quality checks which are part of the Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites program. Unfortunately as Henkel (2000) notes, “Because VIPPS certification is fairly new and voluntary, only a few sites have been certified so far.” Recognizing the problem of ‘rouge’ pharmacies, SquareTrade, has also implemented a program to protect consumers from ‘rouge’ pharmacies. According to SquareTrade, “The Licensed Pharmacy program verifies that your business is a pharmacy in good standing. Verified pharmacies can display the Licensed Pharmacy Seal on their websites – distinguishing themselves from unverified and rogue pharmacies.”

If these safe guards are not put in place, and legislation is enacted that makes it illegal to obtain a prescription from an online pharmacy based on an online consult, the black market for drugs will continue to thrive. Customs by its own admission only catches approximately 2% of all illicit prescription drugs that enter the US.

Negating the fact that through technology, one could enter into a doctor patient relationship that may be affordable. Security, as some have suggested could be accomplished through the use of video cameras and biometric scanners which would cut down on the number of fraudulent prescriptions written. Measures like these would put the convenience of using an online pharmacy out of the reach of those without the technology. One could also not prevent consumers from using off shore online pharmacies. While the FDA is presently trying very hard to get the Canadian government to enact legislation that would prohibit the export of drugs from Canada by mail it appears that the profit that results from the sale of drugs is causing the legislation to stall. As one Canadian pharmacy owner noted, however “We will just move to the UK.”

Ironically, the Canadian’s are offering to crack down, not because of any concerns relating to the sale of drugs online, but because Canada controls drug prices, making them far cheaper than the same drug in the US. The Canadian authorities are planning on cracking down “arguing that the system was created to help Canadians, not Americans.” The drug industry itself has gone so far as to black list Canadian pharmacies that sell to American customers over the Internet. With all the paranoia relating to terrorism there is a concern that any drug coming in from another country may be contaminated. There are no instances on record of a consumer having received a contaminated drug from Canada (Matthews, 2003).

Even more ironically with all the talk about the dangers of drugs purchased from overseas, some legitimate companies are now being forced to buy from other than US sources because they have been black listed by US drug manufactures (Matthews, 2003). Mathews (2003) goes on to illustrate this by pointing out that “Canadian suppliers, in particular, that have been blacklisted, are now turning to sources in Europe.” Mathews (2003) notes that while for the most part these European sources are legitimate and make a high quality drug. In some cases, however Mathews et al. (2003) note that the pharmacies are having to go ‘farther a field’ to find product.

Conclusion

While there need for controls to be put in place to regulate the practice of both medicine online and Internet pharmacies, we also need to acknowledge that science and technology has furthered the practice of medicine, and that the Internet will further it yet.

The Internet has the potential of expanding medical care to those that may not routinely seek it, or are too infirm to travel to the doctor’s office. While the present trend appears to be to make it illegal for a doctor to prescribe drugs without seeing the patient face-to-face there is also a move to establish rules and regulations that ensure that patients receive quality care over the Internet. Unfortunately medicine and politics have become so intertwined and doctors have inadvertently become unwilling agents in the war against drugs.

One can’t turn back the clock though, and according to Larkin (1999) “At a July 30 US Department of Commerce hearing on the benefits and risks of ‘drugstores on the net’, the question was examined.” The main issue was how to shutdown the online pharmacies run by unscrupulous individuals, while still fostering the legitimate online pharmacy business in order to both promote commerce and still protect the consumer (Larkin, 1999). According to Larkin (1999) “What’s new here is not the practice of pharmacy, but the way we communicate with and inform customers.”

Start Up a Lucrative Pharmacist’s Career With Online Pharmacy Degree Program

Maybe it is not widely spread public knowledge, but professional specialization of a pharmacist could be turned into quite a lucrative, rewarding and self-fulfilling career. In simpler words, a lot of pharmacists make a pretty good living from their skills of providing the drugs dispensing to the patients. You did not know that? Are you surprised that pharmacists are actually paid that much money? Just read on to the bottom line of this article!

The reason for that is quite a lot of knowledge and expertise, self-discipline, special skills and talents are required from a pharmacist to handle those medications properly. They have to study really hard to get even an entrance-level employment position in this industry. The have to be more than well-familiar with specialized terminology, with procedures of medicine composition, formulation and storage. All that is of critical importance, since not getting the correct medications and their proper dosages to a patient may result in severe after-effects; it can lead to fatal outcomes. As the result, the experienced professional pharmacists are in great demand. They are very well paid since they have to bear severe responsibilities; the good health and well-being of patients – those in hospitals or just those that visit drugstores – depend on their skills and expertise.

The high-demanding and well-paid responsibilities put upon a professional licensed pharmacist explain the strict demands that have been adopted by pharmacy schools and training programs in relation of their prospective students and trainees.

If you have decided to build a successful career in the pharmacy industry you should take care of the proper schooling, otherwise you do not stand a chance to become a pharmacist at all, not to mention a successful and rewarding career in that field. You are required to be able to present your high school diploma and to pass an entrance test successfully. As you can see, the good-quality pharmacy schools take great care of the academic excellence of their graduates, to this end they have establish the entrance examination routine to make sure that only those fittest in the brain department will be accepted.

As a rule, any pharmacist with high and ambitious hopes for a rewarding and self-fulfilling career in this industry should get at least a bachelor’s degree. The master’s degree gives you even better employment opportunities. That means, the more time you have spent on the campus the greater competitive advantage you get, in the long run.

Many professionals with associate’s and bachelor’s degrees, already employed in the pharmacy industry (for instance, as pharmacy aids or technicians) are devoting serious consideration to getting some higher academic degree, so they can promote their careers further. But not so many of them are in position to quit their jobs or combine present employment responsibilities with the necessity to go back to school. Besides their jobs, many of them have families and that builds up additional pressure and responsibilities. Does it mean that the path to better career options is closed for busy working professionals without a higher college degree?

The answer if definitely NO! Thanks to modern-day technical advancements in the area of network communications and personal computing the continuing education has become something quite affordable and obtainable for any working professional interested in promotion of his or her career!

That is really a great piece of good news that in the present-day cultural environment any person interested in a rewarding career as pharmacist can work towards his or her degree without leaving out all other responsibilities, both professional and/or family. That’s not just wishful thinking, this is an established fact. Is getting further your professional career achievements in pharmacy industry your objective? Are you dreaming of quitting your dead-end job once and for all? So, you don’t need to go back to school. Further education will not hinder your current job or family responsibilities! The pharmacy degree of any academic level can be obtained online. Do you pharmacy degree studies on your own free time at home after work, or on the road, while travelling, or during lunch breaks in your office – whenever and wherever you find it convenient! With online pharmacy degree programs you are able to develop your own convenient academic schedule and study at your own pace, without any rush and any stresses.

If you have taken up an online pharmacy degree training course for the purposes of working towards your professional promotion and better career possibilities in pharmacy industry you do not have to leave your comfortable armchair in your familiar room at home to go somewhere to study at a campus. You can conduct your studies from where you find it possible and/or convenient for you. That means that you can save hugely on transfer and accommodations expenses. Secondly, you save considerably on the prices of teaching materials and text books, since all necessary materials are supplied to you on-line in various modern technology formats – plain text, instant messaging, audio and video files, streaming video and interactive online sites together with live voice and video chats (conferences) through VoIP services – you just name it! The flexibility of online degree courses is simply unbelievable for people used to traditional methods of campus-based degree. You are in position to log in to your student’s account from anywhere you have a computer and an internet connection and whenever you have free time and you feel like doing some academic work! In truth this method of distance learning has become the only continuing education option for anyone who has a full time job and who depends on getting the paycheck in time on regular bases, otherwise the ends will not meet. Such persons – and there are lots of them in the present-day industry and business environment – are given an excellent possibility to obtain their online pharmacy degree without leaving all of their current job and family responsibilities. As simple as that!

Please, before making any commitments and taking up an online degree program, carefully consider the following issue – just because you are able to work out your own convenient schedule of studies, and progress towards the pharmacy degree on your own time, it doesn’t yet mean that the results are sure to be got successfully! Nothing of the kind! If you just slack off on your studies you will not have any progress and no degree, as a result. In order to be a success with an online training degree program a person needs sufficient self-discipline, self-motivation and determination to reach the object in view! It will be critical for you to develop organized study habits, other wise you will not be able to cope with all that volumes of studying materials that are required of you.

Getting an online pharmacy degree is quite a challenge and quite an accomplishment. The flexibility and accessibility of online training is a great advantage, but it has its darker side, so to say – you need to be able to do all academic work required within the set time, getting the necessary number of credits. You can do it faster or you can do it slower – it is all up to you – but you are not allowed to fall behind the schedule. There are certain dead-lines to be observed, and if you are not an enough disciplined and organized person you should better leave the online degree program be. An online degree means working hard – that is all it is about.

That means, you will have to be regularly in touch with your online professors and instructors, you will do the required reading and finish all required projects on time, studying hard and passing all tests and exams as asked of you. But that would be a good investment of your time and money – in the end you will feel proud of your accomplishment!

Pharmacy Degree Education Options

Degree training opportunities are available for those looking to gain an education in the field of pharmacy. An education in this specific field will allow students to pursue a number of careers. Those who desire to be technicians, assistants, and pharmacists can gain the skills needed to enter the workforce. Students looking to enroll in an accredited school or college can do so to obtain a variety of degrees in this field. Pharmacy degree education options are available at an associates, bachelors, masters, and doctorates degree level.

Associates degree training programs provide students with the means to obtain the education they desire. An education in pharmacy at an associate’s level will take students around two years to complete. Students will have the opportunity to study a variety of subjects including:

Math
Physics
Humanities

With an accredited education at an associates level students can enter into careers working with:

Hospitals
Department stores
Pharmacies

Educational programs at this level will allow students to decide if this is the career for them. An associate’s degree will prepare student who wish to obtain a bachelors degree in the field.

Graduate degree programs include both a master’s degree and a doctorates degree. Students can earn these degrees in pharmacy from a number of accredited schools and colleges. A masters or doctorates degree typically takes students an additional two to four years of study to obtain. With either of these programs students will have the opportunity to learn:

Pharmaceutical sciences
Communication
Calculus

Students who choose to earn a masters or doctorates degree in the field can look forward to working for:

Pharmaceutical manufacturers
Government agencies
Health insurance companies
Colleges and universities

Graduate degree training programs are available to assist students in preparing for the career of their dreams. With an education at a masters or doctorates level students will receive the pharmacy training needed for a lifelong career.

With a bachelors degree program from an accredited school or college students can gain the knowledge needed for the career they desire. Degree programs at this level allow students to receive their training and degree in just four years. Students can learn biology, chemistry, business management, and more. Students can also complete health care training, recordkeeping, and terminology. The skills students can obtain at a bachelors level of study will help them to gain employment as pharmacy technicians, pharmacists, and pharmacy assistants. With a degree at this level students can train for various careers in the field. A bachelors degree can help put students into the working world or enter into a graduate degree program.

Students looking to enter a career in the field of pharmacy will need to obtain a license in order to practice. Students will need to study for and pass the required examinations in order to receive their license. A variety of states also require that pharmacy assistant students pass a certification examination. With an accredited educational training program students can gain the knowledge and skills needed to enter into the career they desire in the field of pharmacy. The Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education ( http://www.acpe-accredit.org/ ) can approve quality pharmacy degree programs for full accreditation.

DISCLAIMER: Above is a GENERIC OUTLINE and may or may not depict precise methods, courses and/or focuses related to ANY ONE specific school(s) that may or may not be advertised at PETAP.org.

How To Choose The Right Pharmacy Schools

Courses Offered by Pharmacy Schools

Pharmacy schools teach students an array of different skills within the medicine and health care field of pharmaceuticals. While there are several different pharmacy careers in the industry, there are also a number of different training programs and courses that must be completed to receive the necessary degree. As the field of pharmaceuticals grows and advances, there is a greater need for medical professionals with the knowledge and skills learned through quality pharmacy programs. As a pharmacy professional, employees will be involved with several aspects of the industry including development of policies, following rules and regulations, and conducting clinical research and trials. If you are looking for quality programs to obtain your degree, it is important to compare a number of different schools.

Courses offered by a pharmacy school will vary depending on your specific area of studies. While technician schools will offer more basic courses, other areas of studies for pharmacists will have a wide variety of courses and programs that must be completed to achieve a degree and licensing. When you are browsing schools, focus on their area of expertise based on the career you are entering into. Ensure they have all the programs you must complete to complete certification and learn knowledge needed to pass state licensing testing.

While cost is a huge determining factor as to which school you will attend, the type of learning environment you will be learning in is important to your success. Always research student to teacher ratios and what type of platform classes are taught on. Not all schools teach the same, potential students will need to find a teaching style that suits your learning abilities. Scheduling is also extremely important. Because a majority of adults going back to school are still working a full-time job, you will need to find schools that will offer you the scheduling that allows this.

The high demand from pharmacy professionals has caused a plethora of organizations to offer their own specialized programs. Find a program that has a proven track record to provide all the information necessary, and look for those offering job placement upon course completion.

Since I enjoy helping people so much, I have always had a passion for wanting to work in the healthcare industry. Choosing a specific field wasn’t easy and I certainly wanted to learn as much as I could about being a pharmacy technician [http://pharmacytechblog.org], so I have put everything I learned into a useful blog at PharmacyTechBlog.org. I recently wrote an article about Pharmacy Schools [http://pharmacytechblog.org/pharmacy-schools.html] that you may find very insightful.