Why We Like Them
Valisure is an online pharmacy that sells most medications you’d find at big-box pharmacies. Yet this lab’s point of difference is that unlike other pharmacies, it analyzes each batch of medicine it sells for dosage, ingredients, and dissolution. Its mission is to, “Bring transparency and increased quality to the pharmaceutical industry, and to deliver these benefits direct to consumers.” It also focuses on patient advocacy, consumer protection, and advanced research and development.
Valisure Company Overview
Founded in 2015, this online pharmacy is the only one of its kind in the United States to test every batch of medication. Chemical quality is usually only checked on a subset of batches, meaning only one in every so many batches gets tested. Why is this important?
According to Valisure, 80% of ingredients in most drugs come from Asia (where testing standards aren’t as rigorous), there are three drug recalls every day and 100 recalls per year that result in a risk of death.
Valisure uses proprietary laser-based technology to analyze dosage, ingredients, and dissolution and gives each medication a certificate of analysis. This tech allows the company to quickly and easily test each batch of medication — a service the big pharmacies, like CVS and Walmart, can’t feasible offer.
Valisure was the lab to alert the Food and Drug Administration (F.D.A) that the heartburn drug Zantac contained a possible cancer-causing substance in 2019. Since, the lab has also alerted the F.D.A. that some medications (including medicinal syrups for babies) contain N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), a carcinogen similar to that in smoked meats. It also rang the alarm that metformin, a medication for type-2 diabetes, could also be contaminated with high levels of NDMA.
The lab chemically validates all meds, meaning the techs sample and crush pills from every batch and analyze the contents using laser technology that was developed by scientists trained at Harvard and Yale. Doing so allows the techs to know for certain that the batch contains the ingredients it should and that all ingredients will dissolve in the body — and not simply pass through the system.
The company also does not sell, share, or exchange personal information.
Is Valisure Right For You?
Valisure is a pharmacy that sells thoroughly-tested medications on its website. It also offers tests of medication not purchased through its site — though it charges a significant fee for those tests (see pricing). Valisure may be for you if you want your medications tested for the following elements:
- Common impurities
- Major inactive ingredients
- Active ingredient ID
- Allergens (coming soon)
- Microbial (coming soon)
- Heavy metals and toxic elements (coming soon)
Drugs are tested for the common impurities, major active and inactive ingredients, dosage, and dissolution. If you’re concerned, you can find these tests on the following drugs:
- Common impurities (tested on all drugs): check for common carcinogens and toxins
- Major inactive ingredients (tested on almost all drugs): identify major fillers; reveal possible counterfeits and/or manufacturing irregularities
- Active ingredient ID (tested on almost all drugs): check that drug contains the correct active ingredient
- Dosage (100 most common, and growing): measure the amount of active ingredient
- Dissolution (100 most common, and growing): measure how long medication takes to dissolve
- Allergens (coming soon): check for gluten, peanut protein, etc.
- Microbial (coming soon): check for the presence of various pathogens
- Heavy metals and toxic elements (coming soon): check for lead, mercury, arsenic, etc.
Valisure doesn’t sell and/or test medications in every state. If you live in one of the following states, this online pharmacy could be your new BFF:
- Massachusetts (sales only; no testing of outside drugs)
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- New Hampshire
- New Mexico
- New Jersey
- New York
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- Virginia (sales only; no testing of outside drugs)
- Washington, D.C.
Is Valisure Credible?
Valisure was founded by friends Adam Clark-Joseph and David Light after David suffered complications from a bad batch of anticonvulsant medication. The two discovered that inconsistencies and variables in medication are a much larger problem than they’d realized and started Valisure to help others avoid suffering adverse effects and increase the quality of medications.
The lab was created through the help of scientists and pharmacy experts. The company’s laboratory is an international standards organization accredited laboratory.
Healthcare Conditions Treated by Valisure
Valisure buys, tests, and sells nearly all medications sold by traditional pharmacies. It stocks the most common medications. It also tests some meds not purchased by the lab. Just some of the medications you can find on the website include:
- Bupropion (generic Wellbutrin)
- Cartia XT
- Chateal (generic Cialis)
- Diclofenac 0.1% Ophthalmic Solution
- Macrobid (antibiotic)
- Promethazine Plain Syrup
- Sertraline (generic Zoloft)
How Valisure Works
Ordering medications through Valisure, sending over prescriptions, and transferring prescriptions is super easy. In fact, it only takes three steps.
- Sign in to your account and order your batch of medication
- Ask your doctor to send over your prescription via e-prescribe, phone, or fax
- Get your medications shipped!
You can simply type your medication name into the search bar to find out if Valisure stocks it.
You can also call, fax, or e-prescribe a current prescription. Or, call or mail Valisure to transfer over a prescription from your current pharmacy. Pharmacists are available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can also email Valisure.
If you can’t find your medication using the Valisure search tool, you can always request a medication. Some medications also do take longer to test than others.
Over-the-counter medications process immediately, and prescription medications take two-to-five business days to process and analyze — after the lab has received your prescription.
If you want Valisure to test a medication you didn’t purchase with its lab, it can take up to a month to process and analyze the drug.
For these types of requests, simply fill out the form on the website; Valisure will review the order and email you a contract. After signing the contract, you’ll receive a collection kit and pay a fee. Simply mail your sample in with your kit, and the lab will test it. In some cases, it may take up to two months to test your sample and get your results.
Valisure Does NOT treat Some Conditions
While Valisure is the largest and most thorough prescription testing facility in the U.S., it doesn’t test some medications, including:
- Unknown or rare impurities
- Efficacy and side effects
- Medication paid for by Medicare, Medicaid, and other government programs
- Controlled substances
- Biological drugs
- Medications for patients who live in Virginia or Massachusetts
Unknown or rare impurities are almost impossible to test and take months or years to complete the tests; it simply doesn’t make sense for Valisure to test these types of impurities.
It also cannot test how the drug itself works — it simply confirms that it’s sending the correct medication to the customer.
For legal reasons, the lab also is barred from testing medications paid for by government programs.
Valisure also doesn’t manufacture medications (similar to how CVS or Walgreens doesn’t manufacture Zoloft or Cialis).
Pricing: How Much Does Valisure Cost?
Valisure turns a profit by buying drugs at cost; it recoups lab testing fees through the markup on the medication.
The current prices for some over-the-counter medications are as follows (all prices are for approximately 100 pills):
Ibuprofen 200mg (OTC):$8.99
Allegra 180mg (OTC): $23.89
Caltrate 600-D (OTC): $9.39
Claritin 5mg/5ml (OTC): $14.85
Imodium A-D Caplet (OTC): $13.59
Cod Liver Oil 400 mg (OTC): $3.95
The current prices for some Rx medications are as follows (all prices are per pill unless otherwise noted):
Sildenafil 100mg: $2.16
Lisinopril 20mg: $0.24
Cyclobenzaprine 5mg: $0.35
Macrobid 100mg: $3.42
Armour Thyroid 180mg: $1.72
Azithromycin 250mg Z-Pak (6 Tablet Pack): $17.64
Alendronate Sodium 70mg (4 Tablet Pack): $13.50
Atorvastatin 10 mg: $0.44
Valisure offers free shipping on all meds purchased on the website.
For testing of medications purchased outside of Valisure, the lab charges $40 plus shipping. Right now, it only offers testing for impurities and carcinogens but is planning on offering more tests soon.
Valisure accepts some health insurance plans. The lab also sells generic medications (in addition to brand-name drugs) that are often cheaper than some copays.
What Do We Think About Valisure?
We have to commend Valisure on its moral quest to ensure all drugs sold in the U.S. meet a rigorous standard of quality. We love that it is just as committed to testing outside medicines as it is ones sold on its site and that it’s planning on moving forward to include new testing methods in the future.
We’re also impressed by its ability to sound the alarm on drugs that consistently don’t meet its standards and alert authorities to common inconsistencies in brand-name pharmaceuticals; this helps ensure the safety of not only Valisure customers — but also lowers the risk of bad batches of medications for everyone.
If you’re concerned (like we are) about the ingredients and dosage of your over-the-counter and prescription medications, give Valisure a try.