There are, of course, pros and cons to virtually everything in life, and the Internet is certainly no exception. Going even further, the specific area of the Internet about which there are definitely pros and cons, is the Online Pharmacy or rather, the thousands upon thousands of them.
Online Pharmacies come in a few different types, again as with many things, some good and some not so good. I would be foolish to suggest that there aren’t ‘illegal’ pharmacies supplying prescription drugs without prescriptions, without even a prescription written by a doctor on the basis of information collected online. However, I think the majority of Online Pharmacies comply with this requirement.
Of course, there are those who would argue that this method of prescribing is not ‘best medical practice’. I suppose I would be inclined to agree if the vast majority of face-to-face consultations in my life took more than 3 to 5 minutes and didn’t involve less of an exchange of information than that which is required on the average online questionnaire. I’m disabled with a chronic illness, so there have been many hundreds of such consultations, although this doesn’t apply to my current General Practitioner and my Pain Specialist (Anesthetist), whom it took many years for me to find.
As for the information that a patient needs to have in order to safely use prescription drugs, well…. let’s just say that the smallest and most uninformative Online Pharmacy would contain more information in the form of explanations, side effects, dosage, precautions, storage and contraindications that most doctors could give to a patient in the time allotted, provided of course, they deemed it necessary to inform them at all which, again in my experience, is very rarely. Why should a doctor lower himself/herself to explain such things to a mere ‘layperson’, even if they have the unmitigated gall to ask these questions?
So, in my opinion, the majority of Online Pharmacies are not depriving the patient of one single thing with regard to the knowledge the doctor has or needs and the information they have or need. This leaves only the question of the actual drugs themselves, compared to those that would be supplied by the Pharmacy down the road.
Before we get to this, I have to declare that I am totally against any kind of ‘controlled’ drug being purchased (or otherwise obtained) except under the strictest supervision of a qualified and ‘capable’ physician. Of course, by ‘controlled’ drugs I mean drugs of addiction like opiates, tranquillizers and barbiturates etc. Basically any prescription drug that could cause even the most careful patient to become dependent, whether it be physically or psychologically.
Having said this, the types of drugs supplied to treat erectile dysfunction, inflammation and weight loss (by far the most commonly sourced groups) don’t generally come under this category (with the exception of weight loss drugs containing ‘speed’). The vast majority of Online Pharmacies only provide access to drugs, which would not be considered addictive. Those that do should be shut down without recourse or appeal.
As for the entire concept of Online Pharmacies, we all know there are people, especially in the U.S. (a supposedly developed country), where much needed medications have to be forgone because of many people’s inability to afford them. Online Pharmacies make it possible for many of these people to access the prescription drugs they need at a fraction of the cost, making it possible for them to obtain the drugs they wouldn’t normally be able to.
I am Australian and we enjoy a generous government subsidized Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, which ensures that no-one pays more than a ‘token’ fee for all prescription drugs that are listed (regardless of the actual cost). So it is appalling to me that people with a need for prescription medications must often do without them because of socio-economic reasons. I understand even people with relatively adequate financial resources still struggle to afford medications, especially where a chronic condition or series of illnesses over time may be concerned.
Yes, there are Online Pharmacies, which supply ‘controlled’ drugs. This is terrible. Yes, there are Online Pharmacies, which don’t bother with the doctor/prescription aspect and yes, there are Online Pharmacies, which supply drugs of dubious quality from questionable sources. However, in the main, the majority of Online Pharmacies are simply filling a great need as safely and as responsibly as can be done in the real world. It would be a terrible shame for this recent ‘breakthrough’ in the affordability of prescription drugs to those who wouldn’t normally have access, to be taken away.
In fact, now that the Internet and Online Pharmacies exist, it would be inhumane for those in countries where there is no government subsidy or other means for those who simply cannot afford to pay the exorbitant prices, to take away their affordable access to much needed treatments.
When authorities see fit, for whatever reason, to spend so many billions on things such as defense and the space program but allow their citizens to go without adequate drug treatments, then a means by which these people ARE able to access what they need, MUST be able to continue to operate unhindered. Carefully monitored, yes – but not legislated out of legal existence.
The amount of money spent each year through the Online Pharmacies, demonstrates more than anything else, the huge need that exists and the level of support from the community en masse.