Buying remedies online: which ones are allowed? It’s safe?

Shopping over the Internet is an increasingly common activity for many people – even those who still resist closing online purchases, in general, do at least a few searches on websites before going to the physical store.

And the drugs are not left out! Internet sales have grown gradually over the past few years. From 2017 to 2018, data from Consulta Remédios pointed to an increase of 62.53%. And if the pace was already promising for online pharmacies in recent months, the need to stay at home has made this service expand even further.

Among the medications that have had a significant increase in online shopping is, for example, Tadalafil (indicated for erectile dysfunction ). Comparing January sales with April sales, there was an increase of 742% only in this medicine on the platform.

Those who have not yet been in the habit of using the computer or cell phone to keep their chronic treatment up-to-date – or just relieve a headache – have found a good way to continue taking care of their health in every way.

There are several advantages and cautions when choosing to buy medicines online. So, to get more out of this service, see what they are:

Online pharmacies: how to buy medicine over the internet?

Just a quick search for a drug on the internet will appear some sites that sell drugs. The practice is very similar to those purchases made by telephone from the pharmacy (called tele-delivery), but with the ease of being able to browse the pages of the online store, look at the description of the products and read the package insert, for example.

There are two ways to buy medicines over the internet. The first is through the pharmacy website itself – it lists all the products available in that network, their prices and their own delivery methods.

Some make express delivery, taking a few hours until the purchase reaches the patient, but depending on the product and the availability of the stock, it may take a little longer. Therefore, it is always worth checking rates and delivery times.

A second way to buy medicines over the internet is through platforms, such as Consulta Remédios . On the platform, it is possible to find several stores that have the product or medicine sought – and even combine the purchase of different stores.

The process is very similar to that done directly on the pharmacy website – including the same rules and determinations as ANVISA – the advantage is that it is easier to compare prices and find everything you need.

Regardless of the choice, the important thing is to pay attention to the security of the site and the choice of medicines. Therefore, it is worth making the purchase the same as that made in a physical pharmacy: with medical or pharmaceutical guidance.

In fact, online pharmacies need to have pharmacy professionals to provide care and answer questions over the internet.

With so many facilities, it is also worth mentioning some limitations, which are to preserve the health of consumers: pharmacist Francielle Mathias explains that “drugs that require prescription retention can only be sold in physical pharmacies”.

This is because the prescription must be under the responsibility of the pharmacy that made the drug available – which can only be done in the dispensing unit. That is, just going to the pharmacy.

How do online pharmacies work?

Pharmacies that sell online must follow some ANVISA regulations to be able to operate legally. One of them, as the pharmacist Francielle Mathias explains, is the need for the pharmacy to exist physically.

She further points out that “for this reason, there are many determinations that are shared. However, within the legislation on dispensing and marketing medicines in pharmacies, there are some exclusive determinations for online sales ”.

Some of the determinations are:

Have a physical store and have pharmacy professionals

According to the document by ANVISA and the Ministry of Health, which deals with Good Pharmaceutical Practices for the operation, dispensing and marketing of products and the provision of pharmaceutical services in pharmacies and drugstores:

“Only pharmacies and drugstores open to the public, with a responsible pharmacist present during the entire opening hours, can dispense medicines ordered remotely, such as telephone, facsimile (fax) and internet”.

Ah, in case of doubts, “the pharmaceutical establishment must guarantee the user the right to information and guidance regarding the use of medicines ordered by remote means”. That is, the online store needs to have professionals to guide consumers.

Meet the determinations regarding advertising and disclosure

Francielle Mathias also explains that the online sale of medicines fits into the RDC (Collegiate Board Resolution) 96 of 2008, which regulates the dissemination or promotion of medicines in general.

As it is necessary for the person to seek the remedy within the portal, some precautions need to be taken in their presentation and advertising. “This legislation deals, for example, with images, it determines that real images of prescription drugs cannot be transmitted, only of exempt medicines.”

This has the objective of not inducing or promoting incentives for purchase without the need for drugs or self-medication .

Take responsibility for delivery terms

Regarding delivery, patients must be assured as to the integrity of the medicine in transport, as RDC 44/2009 indicates that:

“The transportation of the medicine for dispensation requested by remote means is the responsibility of the pharmaceutical establishment and must ensure conditions that preserve the integrity and quality of the product, respecting the temperature and humidity restrictions described on the medicine packaging by the registration holder, in addition to meeting the Good Transport Practices provided for in specific legislation. ”

The pharmacy can also make deliveries through third-party companies, such as those that work only with delivery. But it remains her responsibility to care for the conditions of transport and preservation of the medicine.

Have clear policies

As with other online purchases, consumers have the right to repent and exchange products, even medicines, except for those listed in ordinance 344/98 (these cannot be returned).

Therefore, it is necessary for online pharmacies to have clear return policies and to facilitate this process – the return guarantee is guaranteed within 7 days from the date of receipt, and it may be required that there is no violation of the packaging.

Clearly showing the deadline and cost of delivery, as well as providing information regarding the CNPJ and company address is also necessary.

What remedies can I buy over the internet?

Some drugs can be purchased through online stores, while others are only allowed to be sold in physical stores, as there is a requirement to retain revenue.

And in order to avoid doubts about which drugs are not prescribed, online pharmacies should highlight the required warning phrases on the medication page. Thus, it is easy to know if the product is non-prescription or needs a prescription.

Thus, Francielle Mathias explains that “medications that are exempt and under medical prescription through the presentation of a prescription by upload” can be purchased online.

For example, painkillers and muscle relaxants are over-the- counter , and human insulin (to treat diabetes ) and Euthyrox (to treat hypothyroidism ) are those that are sold under medical prescription, with a common white prescription.

Can you buy antibiotics and prescription drugs over the internet?

No. Both antibiotics and controlled drugs that are covered by Ordinance 344/98 can only be sold with prescription retention by the pharmacy – which can only be done by going to the physical store.

According to ANVISA, substances controlled or subject to special control include those that:

  • They act on the central nervous system:
  • Anabolic steroids;
  • Abortive substances or those with the potential to cause fetal malformation;
  • Substances that can give rise to psychotropic drugs;
  • Inputs used in the manufacture of narcotics and psychotropic drugs;
  • Plants used in the manufacture of narcotics and narcotics;
  • Chemical substances for use by the armed forces;
  • Substances forbidden in Brazil.

It is only possible to consult on the internet the price of some medicines – which makes it easier to save money. Thus, with the prescription in hand, patients can go to the physical store that has the best values.

Has the coronavirus pandemic changed any guidelines for selling drugs over the internet?

The pandemic of the new coronavirus has brought about some changes in the time to buy drugs and some of them relate to selling online. As the pharmacist Francielle Mathias explains, the substances studied as possible treatments for Covid-19 were included in ordinance 344/98.

“This means that before they could be purchased online and now it is no longer possible. Once belonging to the lists of this ordinance, the medical prescription needs to be presented and retained at the physical pharmacy so that the medicine can be purchased ”.

Thus, ANVISA indicates that anyone who uses any of these medications must have in hand a simple prescription to buy the product, which is valid for 30 days after the date of issue. The prescription needs to be registered by the pharmacist or pharmacist, to make the control at the time of sale.

Is buying medicine online safe? What care?

As long as some precautions common to any online purchase are followed, using pharmacy websites is quite safe and even more practical!

However, since it is about the sale of medicines, which can have direct effects on the health of those who use them, attention to some points is essential before closing the purchase.

Those basic navigation tips, like making sure that the site is safe and real is the first step. It is worth confirming that the platform has “.com.br” domain at the end – which indicates that it meets the determination of national operation.

According to Francielle Mathias, “checking if the website that makes the products available has a responsible pharmacist, if it displays Ministry of Health registration information on medicines and if it uses a coherent language (seriously)” are important points.

In order to avoid any doubts regarding the purchase, it is also important to make sure of fees and delivery times. And in case of doubts, the platform or online pharmacy needs to have a simple communication channel.

It is worth reinforcing, then, that those who buy medicines over the internet are supported by the Consumer Protection Code. Therefore, any problem can be properly resolved or clarified through the competent bodies.

With these tips and the medical indication, it is possible to purchase medicines simply and safely!


Buying medicines and other products over the internet is a simple way to maintain health care in a simple way. In fact, during the pandemic, this can be a service to continue maintaining social isolation.

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