Drugs should be purchased from qualified sources. Generally, authoritative medical institutions, pharmacies with a business license and online sales platforms with qualification certificates for drug transaction services are relatively safe sources for drug purchasing.

Choosing a qualified hospital makes purchasing more targeted. Especially to avoid misdiagnosis, it is recommended to see a doctor and then to purchase drugs in line with the doctor’s advice and your personal condition. If you have any questions about medicine, you can consult your doctor directly. In addition, the vast majority of prescription drugs, such as antibiotics, require a doctor’s prescription to be purchased.

If it is confirmed that you do not need to see a doctor, you can also purchase medication from a pharmacy.

1. Qualified pharmacies include chain pharmacies and general retail drugstores which are qualified for pharmaceutical business and equipped with resident pharmacists. Before purchasing, you can confirm whether the drugstore displays its business license and whether the pharmacist wears their credentials to ensure drug safety. It is advisable not to go to an unqualified retail store.

2. It is recommended to point out your conditions, to further consult, and to follow instructions of a licensed physician before purchasing. Don’t trust the advice of a non-licensed physician.

3. Pay more attention to pharmacies near your place of residence and work. In China, some large pharmacies operate on a 24-hour basis, allowing you to purchase medicines urgently at night.

4. Drug prices may vary among pharmacies. In addition, it is recommended to keep the invoice as proof of purchase.

In recent years, online drug stores have turned out to be favored by the public. Their easy access ensures drugs are delivered to customers’ homes within hours. Online shopping platforms such as Taobao have pharmaceutical areas and flagship stores. Besides, many large pharmacies have their own online stores and mobile apps.

1. Online purchasers should go to platforms qualified for online drug trading business and be aware of whether or not the site has the Qualification Certificates for Drug Information Services and the Qualification Certificates for Drug Transaction Services. At the same time, you can also log on to the official website of the National Medical Products Administration (NMPA) to check whether the platform has business qualifications. (Chinese Official website: nmpa.gov.cn/WS04/CL2042/)

2. Only OTC drugs can be purchased at online pharmacies. When purchasing, you should pay attention to distinguishing between qualified drugs and advertised commercial commodities, and not be careless about trusting online promotions.

3. Cash on delivery is suggested and you should check important information including the drug name, production date and expiration date. If there’s any problem, please tell the deliveryman directly or contact the vendor as soon as possible.