A survey conducted by the CDC between 2013 and 2016 reported that almost half of all adults had used a prescription drug in the last month.
A lot of people use prescriptions to help them manage ongoing illnesses. Going to the pharmacy every time you need that prescription filled can be a huge hassle. This is why the use of mail order pharmacies has become so popular.
If you use medications to help manage an ongoing illness, you’ve probably thought about using a mail order pharmacy. You also likely have a lot of questions.
Continue reading to find out everything you need to know about the shipping rules and other considerations of using a mail order pharmacy.
What Are Mail Order Pharmacies?
A mail order pharmacy is one that allows you to buy your medications online. They are then mailed to your front door so you don’t have to leave the house.
These pharmacies are great for people who live in rural areas or have limited mobility. They can be used by anyone who requires an ongoing maintenance prescription.
Are All Online Pharmacies “Mail Order”?
No. Your local pharmacy likely allows you to place your prescription order online. These still must be picked up in-store.
Mail order pharmacies are only those which ship your prescriptions to you. Most sites only allow these for ongoing prescriptions. A one-time prescription isn’t likely allowed to be ordered from an online pharmacy.
Considerations When Using Mail Order Pharmacies
If you want to use a mail order pharmacy, you likely have a lot of questions. How do you know which one to use? How do you know if using them at all is right for you? Consider the following.
Beware of Scams
With all great ideas comes the great potential for scams. There are thousands of fake online pharmacy websites. These scam artists will take your money without giving anything in return.
If a website gives you any red flags, skip it. If there is no phone number, it’s likely a scam. Always go with your instincts.
Check With Your Insurance
Check with your insurance to see if they have a list of mail-order pharmacies they work with. Some do and some don’t.
If your insurance company doesn’t have a list, you can do an online search of your own. Once you have the name of a pharmacy you want to work with, verify they accept your insurance.
If you don’t have insurance, you’ll want to compare prices. One big red flag for a scam site is that they will state prescriptions are unbelievably cheap. Or, they might not give prices at all.
You may not necessarily want to go with the cheapest option. You’ll want to choose the cheapest option following all the regulations of your state.
Make Sure You Have a Legal Prescription
Some people have tried obtaining medications from mail order pharmacies without a legal prescription. Other pharmacies state they have an on-staff doctor who will write prescriptions. Both of these situations are 100% illegal.
To use a mail order pharmacy legally, you’ll need a prescription written by your doctor. A legal mail order pharmacy will require one with your doctor’s signature on it. These are usually required to be faxed in.
Whichever way the prescription is provided, the pharmacy should verify it with your doctor. This is exactly the way it works with a regular in-person pharmacy.
Verify There Is a Pharmacist You Can Speak With
There should always be a pharmacist you can speak with for mail order pharmacies. It isn’t just about convenience, either.
You might have questions about your prescription. You might have had an issue that warrants speaking to a pharmacist so it can be fixed.
If there isn’t a pharmacist you can speak with, you should choose a different mail order pharmacy. You might not think it’s important. But, trust us, it’ll save you a lot of hassle in the long-term.
Is It a “Maintenance Medication”?
Most mail order pharmacies only handle maintenance medication prescriptions. These are medications people need each month to maintain ongoing diseases.
Cholesterol-lowering drugs (such as Lipitor) would be considered maintenance medications. Other examples might include thyroid medications, the birth control pill, and blood pressure-lowering drugs.
Understanding the Downsides
Using a mail order pharmacy can make life a lot easier. Like everything else, there are downsides. You should consider these when deciding if a mail order pharmacy is right for you.
- There is the possibility of medications being late
- Things can get lost or damaged in the mail
- There isn’t a physical place you can go to (which some people don’t like)
- Sometimes it can be hard getting on the phone with either a pharmacist or customer service
- These pharmacies are larger and handle more patients
- If there is a mistake, it takes longer to get it fixed and get your appropriate medication
Shipping Rules to Be Aware Of
There are some shipping rules you need to be aware of if you plan on using mail order pharmacies to fulfill your prescriptions.
- All drugs ordered must be legal in the state/country you live in
- You almost always have to sign for prescriptions ordered in the mail
- The pharmacy you order from must be legal in your state
- Narcotics can’t (in most cases) be mail ordered because of federal regulations
Most shipping rules are created to ensure nobody abuses the use of mail order pharmacies.
Learn More about Mail Order Pharmacies
Want to learn more about mail order pharmacies? Would you like to discuss getting your prescriptions through a mail order pharmacy? Contact us today. One of our associates would be more than happy to help you.