In three years, from 2019 to today, the online sites of pharmacies and parapharmacies authorized for sale have registered an increase of 59%, but if “they represent an important saving opportunity”, there are still “critical issues regarding the application of the rules”. This is what emerges from a survey conducted by Altroconsumo, according to which “the pandemic has forced us to change our buying habits and experiences, especially when it comes to medicines” but “it is necessary to be careful, since when talking about medicines, it is essential to act in complete safety. In addition to our wallet, we could also risk damaging our health “. In order to guide consumers in choosing the best online service, Altroconsumo therefore conducted a survey on 27 pharmacy and parapharmacy sites, highlighting the critical issues that should be resolved. For example, one of the main sore points – reports the association – is the lack of control over the number of packages purchased. Furthermore, there is often no correspondence between the online price and the one applied in the relevant point of sale. In other cases, the physical exercise that must be connected to the site is nowhere to be found or it is difficult to contact a pharmacist in case of need. Clearer directives and greater controls are therefore needed in order not to invalidate the legislation: to report the persistence of these problems, Altroconsumo sent the results of the investigation to all the institutions involved. In order for a pharmacy or a parapharmacy to sell online – they explain from Altroconsumo – the site must correspond to a physical business in the area, authorized by the authorities, complete with the logo of the Ministry of Health that indicates’ Click here to check if this website is legal ‘. And this should only appear on the drug pages and not on the pages where cosmetics, supplements or anything else are sold. The results of the survey show that, on the other hand, of the 27 sites analyzed, only 16 have it anywhere. Furthermore, only 4 explicitly give the possibility to contact a healthcare professional. Prices can touch differences of up to 286% The survey sample was detected on the basis of 3 criteria: sites that have a high number of drugs were taken into consideration, those that appear on the first pages of the search engines research and those that were found to be cheaper in the previous Altroconsumo survey in 2019. The survey also found a significant difference in price: the online drug is cheaper than the target price, however, attention must be paid to the cost of shipping. The convenience index is obtained by processing the detected prices. Index 100 indicates the cheapest online pharmacy. If the index is 110, for example, it means that prices are 10% more expensive than the cheapest site. Finally, since these are volatile prices, Altroconsumo recommends that you always take a tour of different online pharmacies before buying: an operation that, compared to physical pharmacies, is much faster. In fact, among the drugs considered in the sites tested by the investigation, the 3 with the greatest price differences from one site to another (data collected in July 2022) are: in first place, Iridina with a difference of 286 %, going from a minimum price of € 3.30 to a maximum of € 9.45. Flector follows, with a difference of 216%, going from € 6.90 for one site to € 14.50 for another. In third place, Maalox Plus goes from € 4.84 up to € 8.55 with a difference of 176%. The right of withdrawal – recalls Altroconsumo – does not apply to drugs, medical devices and in general to products that can deteriorate or expire quickly. In addition, it is possible to deduct purchases of drugs and medical devices from the tax return, but it is necessary to verify that the site allows you to enter your tax code. Finally, in order to avoid dangerous interactions – he concludes – it is necessary to be careful if you take other drugs or have doubts, contacting your doctor and / or the pharmacy to ask if the drugs you are about to order can interact in a harmful way.