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How do I get Online Prescriptions?

Nicole Madison
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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The availability of online prescriptions can make obtaining medications very convenient. People can get online prescriptions and have them delivered directly to their homes or offices. The first step in buying online prescriptions is choosing a reputable online pharmacy. Consumers should start by selecting a pharmacy that is licensed by the country, state, or province in which it is located. It's also a good idea to research and make sure the pharmacy in question is in good standing, without a record of breaking laws.

Depending on the country in which the online pharmacy operates, there may be an entity that regulates, recommends, or inspects Internet pharmacies. In the United States, online pharmacies can be accredited by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, and their websites may bear the Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites (VIPPS) seal of approval. Other countries may have similar entities for pharmacy accreditation. By choosing to get online prescriptions from a pharmacy with accreditation, consumers may have a better chance of obtaining the quality of medications they need and protecting their health.

Before online pharmacies sell prescription medications, they typically require the consumer to create an online account and complete a medical profile. The online account information usually includes information like the user's name and address, and the consumer may create a unique username and password. The medical history or profile usually requires the consumer to answer questions about his health problems, allergies, age, and other health-related issues. While such questions may seem intrusive, they're intended to ensure that the consumer can get online prescriptions that are safe for him to consume.

To get online prescriptions, a consumer usually needs a prescription from a doctor. Many Internet pharmacies allow consumers to mail or fax in prescriptions. There are others, however, that will only take faxed prescriptions from doctors; pharmacies often even accept phoned-in prescriptions from doctors as well as those that have been transferred from other pharmacies. There are some pharmacies that provide remote consultations with doctors, who then go on to provide the prescriptions the patient needs. In some places, this process is a legal substitute for face-to-face meetings between patients and their doctors.

Once the online pharmacy has the prescription, the final step for the consumer is making payment. Most online pharmacies accept credit cards as payment, and some may accept online checks as well. Additionally, many online pharmacies accept health insurance. Few accept every health insurance plan, however, so it's wise to learn which plans are accepted before beginning an order.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Nicole Madison
By Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a The Health Board writer, where she focuses on topics like homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. Her passion for knowledge is evident in the well-researched and informative articles she authors. As a mother of four, Nicole balances work with quality family time activities such as reading, camping, and beach trips.
Discussion Comments
By geekish — On Sep 21, 2011

This sounds like a great alternative to having to go and wait in the sometimes horrendous lines at most doctors and pharmacies! Especially if you have an on-going illness, or if you have some sort of disability that hinders your mobility.

I think that as long as it is accredited, there probably won't be too many problems or shady stuff happening over the internet. You can never be certain whether you go online or in person that you will get diagnosed correctly and prescribed correctly.

I probably wouldn't get online prescriptions for something newly prescribed to me, but it sounds like the way to go for prescriptions you have been on for a while.

By BoniJ — On Sep 21, 2011

For about a year or two, I used an online service that was sponsored by my insurance company. I was very pleased with it. Especially, since I could get a three months supply for about the price of a one month supply. It was great.

The service was very good. All records were well organized on my site. Shipping was free, and the whole process was taken care of quickly.

Unfortunately, I had to change insurance companies, so that was the end of that.

By starrynight — On Sep 20, 2011

@JaneAir - No offense, but you sound a little bit paranoid. I really doubt that the doctors are getting "kickbacks" for prescribing medicine.

I think it's much more likely that the patients that do the over the phone consultations have probably provided their medical records. They are probably patients that take some medications long term, like allergy medicine or heart medicine.

In fact, I've been using the same asthma medicine for about the last 15 years. I don't need to go all the way to the doctors office for it to be apparent that I need more when I've run out! I may look into this online pharmacy thing next time I need my meds refilled!

By JaneAir — On Sep 19, 2011

I do not think a remote consultation with a doctor can take the place of a doctors visit. Also, it seems shady to have the doctor pretty much be affiliated with the pharmacy, who will then make money filling the prescription!

I can think of just so many things that could go wrong with this. What if the doctor makes a wrong diagnosis over the phone? And how is the doctor paid exactly? Does he get kickbacks for prescribing certain medicines?

I know that's probably not legal, but that doesn't mean it doesn't happen. I just think this would be a really big conflict of interest!

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a The Health Board writer, where she focuses on topics like...
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