Almost half of all the people in the US took at least one prescription (Rx) drug in the past 30 days from 2015 to 2018. Close to a quarter of the population even took at least three Rx medications.
All those statistics show how prevalent the use of Rx drugs is in the US.
So, if you now need to fill a prescription yourself, you may be wondering if there’s a way to skip the queue at the pharmacy. There are actually several methods, all of which you can do in the comfort and safety of your home.
This guide will discuss the top methods to place a medication order at home, so be sure to keep reading.
Prepare Your Valid Prescription
The 21 US Code § 829 is a law that governs prescription medications in the US. Under this law, only authorized medical practitioners can issue a written prescription. Moreover, only practitioners and pharmacists can dispense prescribed Rx drugs.
As such, pharmacists can only dispense Rx drugs if a patient has a valid prescription. For that reason, make sure you take good care of the original prescription your doctor wrote. As an added precaution, you can take a photo of it with your smart device or make a copy with a scanner.
See if Your Local Pharmacy Offers Prescription Delivery
The US is home to a staggering 88,000 retail pharmacies, so a few are likely near your home. If so, check if they provide prescription delivery services. If they do, you can place your orders online, through their patient portal, or via phone.
Before the pharmacy dispenses your meds, one of its pharmacists will ask you for a copy of your written Rx. You can then fax, email, or upload it through their online pharmacy portal. They will then verify the information by calling your doctor.
If everything is fine, you can expect one of the pharmacy’s employees to call you to confirm your address. From there, they’ll have it delivered within a day or two, depending on how close your home is to their location.
Consider Mail-Order Services
Drug shortages have become more common in the US, increasing by 36.6% from 2017 to 2020. So, it’s possible that the pharmacies nearest you may not always carry the Rx medications you need.
In that case, you might want to check out other pharmacies that offer mail-order services. In this case, you or your doctor will send your written prescription to the pharmacy. The pharmacy will fill your prescription and ship it to your mailing address.
Look for Legitimate Online Pharmacies (LOPs)
LOPs are pharmacies that operate mostly through a website. However, they carry all legal requirements, including pharmacy and pharmacist licensure. They also have brick-and-mortar headquarters where all online orders get filled and dispensed.
Moreover, LOPs have licenses issued by the Boards of Pharmacy. For example, in the US, the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy issues licenses. Canada’s College/Boards of Pharmacy are also members of the NABP.
With that said, not all online pharmacies you’ll encounter are from North America. Not all are legitimate, either. In fact, only a small fraction of the estimated 35,000 online pharmacies that operate at any given time are LOPs.
As such, it’s vital to run a thorough background check on each online pharmacy you wish to buy from. Here are some of the strategies to keep yourself safe when ordering Rx meds online.
One of the first things to check is an online pharmacy’s Board of Pharmacy licensure. You should see this on one of their web pages, such as the About Us section. You can also call and ask the pharmacy itself; they should have no qualms giving it to you, so long as they’re legit.
Your local Boards of Pharmacy can then verify the validity of their license.
Ask to Talk to an On-Duty Licensed Pharmacist
Remember: only licensed pharmacists (aside from medical practitioners) can dispense medicines. As such, all online and brick-and-mortar pharmacies must have on-duty registered pharmacists. The pharmacists must also be present throughout the pharmacy’s operating hours.
So, before purchasing your Rx meds through an online pharmacy, call them up first. Next, ask to speak to the RPh, and then ask the RPh to provide you their license details. You can then call your Board of Pharmacy to verify the information.
Steer Clear from “No Rx Needed” Traps
All LOPs require a valid Rx before they fill online prescription orders. They will never dispense medications without validating the written prescription. Again, that’s because it’s the law not just in North America but in most other countries, too.
So, if you ever come across a website saying you don’t need to present an Rx, that’s likely an illicit pharmacy. Worse, they can be a scammer only posing as a pharmacy. Report that website to the authorities, such as the FDA, as soon as possible.
Ensure the Site Implements Online Security Measures
Keep in mind that legitimate businesses, including LOPs, can become victims of hacking. As such, always choose an online pharmacy that uses the latest website security. One way to check this is to look for “HTTPS” at the start of the site’s URL.
Aside from HTTPS, you should also see a padlock symbol at the heading of the URL. Both indicate that the website uses the SSL (secure sockets layer) protocol. SSL is one of the common internet security encryption protocols.
Secure sites also use security certificates, like those from McAfee, Sectigo, or Symantec. These certificates provide round-the-clock monitoring and protection from security threats. In addition, they check for potential phishing and malware activities.
Fill a Prescription Without Breaking a Sweat
As you can see, there are other ways to fill a prescription without going to an actual pharmacy. You can place your orders via phone or online, and you can get your Rx meds delivered or shipped to you. This is safer and more convenient than falling in line at a brick-and-mortar pharmacy.
So, as early as now, prepare your valid prescription so you can start ordering your meds right from home.
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