Buying medications is essential for your well-being. With almost 3.2 million residents in Iowa, according to the United States Census Bureau, more than 75% of Iowans reported the use of prescribed medication in the past 30 days, according to the Iowa Department of the public health. On top of that, the cost of healthcare insurance per person in Iowa is $6216. Even though this is below the national average, it’s better to look for methods to keep healthcare costs low.
Patients can manage treatment with the proper usage of prescription drugs. But with over 630 pharmacies in Iowa, it is only natural to get confused when buying medications. Prices and quality of medicines can vary, which can become barriers to getting the help a patient needs.
So if you’re an Iowan looking to buy your meds, here are some tips to keep in mind:
Consult with a healthcare professional
Before you visit any pharmacy in Iowa, you must first get a prescription or advice from a reputable source; this could be a general physician, a pharmacist, or your family doctor. A prescription from a professional is essential to ensure your safety and well-being while buying medications. Besides, most pharmacies across the US will not dispense medicines without a prescription.
Your doctor knows about your past medical history, allergies, family history of the disease, and current condition of your body. They will likely recommend the correct medicine and dosage for you to buy, so you wouldn’t waste your money on something you don’t need. It is also important to inform your doctor about your lifestyle, eating habits, age, and gender, as these factors will influence the accurate dosage.
Moreover, you must inform your doctor about any medication you are taking currently or took some time ago. This is because some medications might have side effects when they interact with others; for example, CYP-450 activators are known to increase the effect of certain drugs by rapidly activating them, which can cause high toxicity or deactivation of other drugs.
Choose reliable sources
Iowa has over 630 pharmacies, but not all of them may be legit. Some common red flags include the business not having a license, cocktail medicines, poor prescription management, being located far off, and pricing issues. These red flags can worsen your condition if you buy improper medication.
Therefore, only purchase medicine from a reputable and reliable pharmacy, preferably one your doctor recommends or one near or inside a healthcare facility. Here are the some more things to watch out for:
- Look for licensed pharmacies, whether online or offline, since these are likely to be legit businesses that comply with state regulations
- Ensure there are certified pharmacists available
- Avoid buying from unregistered websites or any unreliable street vendor; these vendors will probably sell you below-standard or counterfeit medications for a lower price
Check the medicine’s authenticity
Ensuring that the medicine you buy is authentic and approved for sale by organizations such as the FDA is extremely important. Doing so will prevent you from buying counterfeit meds.
A licensed pharmacy will properly pack and seal medications in the appropriate environment, as some medications require a cold temperature to maintain their effectiveness while some do not. Therefore, inspect the packaging for any indications of tampering, like torn seals, damaged boxes, or expired dates. If you encounter these signs in a certain medication, consider the product and its source illegitimate and immediately verify their authenticity. Also, match the dosage and frequency on your prescription with the information on the labels of the medication the pharmacy provides you. Make sure it is accurate and matches the guidelines from your doctor. In case of any mismatch, consult the pharmacist for an order correction.
You should also look for the FDA’s seal of approval on the medication. This indicates that the drug you buy has gone under appropriate manufacturing, packaging, and quality check and is, therefore, authentic.
A reputable pharmacy prioritizes your healthcare over making extra money. Medicines can be expensive; therefore, comparing prices is a practical way to ensure you get a fair deal while buying medications. However, do keep the following in the mind:
- A suspiciously low price indicates that the medicine might be counterfeit or expired
- When given an option, it might be tempting to go for the lower-priced ones; however, you must prioritize quality and authenticity over price
- Consider exploring any discounts, coupons, or assistance some pharmacies might offer to save money on certain medications
- Check if your insurance provider offers coverage for the medication you need. This can reduce your expenses on your part
Store and dispose of them properly
In order to prevent a drug’s misuse, it is necessary that you appropriately store and dispose of the medication. Consider the following:
- Strictly follow the guidelines provided by the pharmacy or the company that manufactured your medicine. Some medications may require a cool and dry place, while others might not. Since summers in Iowa are warm and humid, you may have to be extra careful during these months. Storage instructions come with the medications, so you must read them and store them accordingly.
- Buy childproof containers and properly lock your medications inside to ensure they stay out of reach of children and pets.
- Regularly check their expiry dates, and discard them immediately if they are expired. Consuming expired drugs poses serious health risks.
- Follow the guidelines of your pharmacy to dispose of your medication properly. Throwing them in the trash or flushing them is inappropriate as certain drugs can have hazardous effects on the environment or animals.
If you’re buying meds, do so cautiously to ensure your safety since this can become a matter of life and death. Never purchase any medicine from unauthentic sources, consult your doctor or pharmacist to get the appropriate medicines for your needs, and appropriately store and dispose of medications to prevent misuse. Following these guidelines is vital for your health and well-being.