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Online Prescriptions—What You Need To Know

Online healthcare is providing new and easy ways for people to obtain an online prescription. As our days get busier, we’ve discovered new ways to streamline our errands and daily tasks. The most obvious way this has happened is through online shopping. Groceries? Online. Furniture? Online. Need to split the bill? There’s an app for that—a few, actually, so no need for the extra trip to the ATM. We work more, our kids are involved in more activities, and a trip to the doctor’s office or pharmacy is just another task to add to the list—but it doesn’t have to be. Ordering medicine online can be just as simple as picking out a new desk on Amazon.

Online prescriptions provide a convenient alternative to the traditional trip to your doctor’s office, and possibly your local pharmacy. They eliminate the need to wait in an office, leave your house when you aren’t feeling well, and stand in line around other sick people at the pharmacy. Aside from the convenience, online prescriptions offer many benefits. They are a safer option for those who are disabled, immunocompromised, or unable to find transportation. There is an added layer of privacy for those receiving their prescriptions from online pharmacies and online prescription services. Also, your doctor sends the prescription directly to the pharmacy or online medicine service, so there is a lower chance of losing your script and less risk of a misunderstanding between the doctor and the pharmacist.

Those unfamiliar with online prescriptions most likely have questions and concerns. Are they safe? How is it different from a traditional order? Are online prescriptions cheaper, or will my insurance not cover them? Like all new things, knowledge and understanding are key. While there are ways to have a bad experience with online pharmacies and prescriptions, educating oneself on how to obtain an online prescription can be safe and effective if done correctly.

What is an online prescription?

Simply put, an online prescription is a typical, prescribed substance or device that is submitted by your doctor through an online portal. The order may go directly to your community pharmacy, or it may be paid for and filled through a digital platform rather than a brick-and-mortar store. Ordering an online prescription is simple and usually available after seeing a doctor in person or online. Online prescriptions include medications and devices for both acute and chronic illnesses, disorders, conditions, and, of course, prevention.

The purpose of an online prescription is to safely and conveniently deliver medicines and other medical devices to the receiving pharmacy or the homes of patients. Prescriptions are typically available at physical locations or through online pharmacies, associated telehealth platforms, and mail-order services allied with brick-and-mortar stores such as CVS, RiteAid, Walgreens, Walmart, and several others.

People receive online prescriptions for both chronic and acute issues. Issuing a prescription digitally is instantaneous. However, for those using an online pharmacy, delivery times can vary depending on accessibility, weather, and the speed of service. For this reason, many people prefer to use online prescription services for more abundant supplies or medications they take daily or on a long-term basis.

How to Obtain an Online Prescription

Getting an online prescription for your medication is easy and convenient! There are a few ways that this can happen

  1. You schedule an appointment with your doctor, go to their office for an in-person assessment, and after your consultation, they send your prescription to a pharmacy or online pharmacy.
  2. You schedule a telehealth appointment, speak with a doctor from the comfort of your home, and after an initial consultation, they send your order to a traditional pharmacy or online pharmacy.
  3. Your doctor may send the prescription through their systems or, for use in online pharmacies, they may write a script with which you will take a picture and send it to the appropriate platform.

Setting a telehealth appointment usually expedites the process of getting your online prescription.  Rather than waiting days, or possibly more than a week, you can see a doctor same-day, and they can write you a prescription after a consultation. This is especially helpful when there is an urgent need for medication, or a patient has fallen ill and needs antibiotics to begin recovery.

When relying on telehealth services to obtain an online prescription, there are a few important things to note:

  • Some states only require a doctor and their patient to speak over the phone before prescribing medicine online, however;
  • Twenty-nine (29) states require a video conference between a doctor and their patient before a prescription can be ordered. They include:
    • Alabama
    • Arizona
    • California
    • Connecticut
    • Delaware
    • Florida
    • Georgia
    • Idaho
    • Indiana
    • Iowa
    • Kentucky
    • Louisiana
    • Maine
    • Massachusetts
    • Mississippi
    • Missouri
    • Nebraska
    • New Hampshire
    • New Jersey
    • New Mexico
    • North Carolina
    • Ohio
    • Oklahoma
    • Oregon
    • Rhode Island
    • South Carolina
    • Vermont
    • Virginia
    • West Virginia

What Kinds of Prescriptions Are Available Through Online Consultations?

Nearly every type of prescription is available online. Because doctors of many disciplines can conduct telehealth conferences, patients are able to get medication for a wide variety of health and wellness needs.

Online prescriptions are available for:

  • Antibiotics
  • Antidepressants
  • Antifungals
  • Hypertension
  • Thyroid conditions
  • Diabetes
  • Flu
  • Psoriasis
  • Eczema
  • Rash/dermatitis
  • IBS
  • Acne
  • Contacts/eyeglasses
  • Birth control
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Sinus infection
  • Smoking cessation
  • Preventative medicine
  • Asthma
  • Pink eye
  • Ear infection
  • STDs
  • Heart disease
  • Refills
  • Many more

Which Prescriptions Are Not Available Through Online Consultations?

Because of the Ryan Haight Act of 2008, online prescriptions are not available for controlled substances without an in-person assessment performed by a doctor. Additionally, practitioners must comply with any state or federal laws regarding narcotics and controlled substances. Doctors can utilize online prescription channels to send the order to a pharmacy or online pharmacy once they have seen the patient in person.

Online prescriptions not available through telehealth or digital conferencing include, but are not limited to:

  • Xanax
  • Ritalin
  • Fentanyl
  • Adderall
  • Ambien
  • Percocet
  • Morphine
  • Opium
  • Vyvanse
  • Ativan
  • Methadone
  • Tramadol
  • Vicodin
  • Clonazepam
  • Ephedrine
  • Oxycodone
  • Valium
  • Klonopin
  • Many Others

How to Make Managing Your Online Prescriptions as Easy as Possible.

The Mayo Clinic reports that 7 in 10 Americans “are on at least one prescription drug, and more than half take two.” Many of the medications prescribed require regular testing, consultations, or assessments to continue administering them. For those relying on a regular supply of medication, using digital health services and online pharmacies to consistently fulfill an online prescription helps streamline their healthcare needs. Because this is a new way of practicing medicine for doctors and patients alike, some are hesitant to use this method. However, getting your online prescription through a virtual consultation makes getting and managing your medications incredibly easy.

Here’s how you do it:

  1. Speak to your current healthcare provider about whether they offer their services online.
  2. If they do, see if you’re able to move your regular consultations regarding your medications to this platform.
  3. If not, consider adding telehealth services to your healthcare routine.
  4. To sign up, choose a trusted telehealth platform. You will likely have to create a profile including typical personal information – name, address, phone number, etc.
  5. Most online health services require you to fill out a medical history form, just like the one you fill out at the doctor’s office!
  6. Schedule your consultation and quickly speak to a doctor about your condition and medical needs.
  7. They order an online prescription that you can fill through an online pharmacy or take to your local pharmacy.
  8. Set up automatic refills. This way, you don’t even have to think about when to reorder.
  9. Consider staggering your refill schedule so that any required consultations aren’t scheduled for the same time and become overwhelming.
  10. Keep track of your orders. Make sure you are receiving the correct medication, and that your online prescription is being filled or delivered on time.

Benefits

There are many benefits to getting your medicine through an online prescription. Now that you are a bit more familiar with how to obtain a prescription through an in-person or telehealth assessment, and how to use a digital platform to receive your online prescription, you may be wondering exactly how this benefits you. Using telehealth and digital medical services can bring a great deal of value to your life.

  • Online prescriptions are convenient, and in many cases, you can access the services needed to get a prescription 24/7.
  • Getting a prescription online affords patients more security and privacy. No more awkward run-ins at a doctor’s office or pharmacy.
  • Embarrassing questions about conditions or medications can be answered by a physician or licensed pharmacist in the comfort and privacy of your own home.
  • Online prescriptions and the services used to acquire them are likely more affordable than in-person services and are covered by many insurance groups.
  • You don’t have to add any unnecessary trips out when you aren’t feeling well – This way, you aren’t a threat to anyone else, and other sick individuals are not a threat to you.

Concerns

Between misinformation, novel services, and a general lack of knowledge or information, it’s natural to have some questions and concerns. After all, anyone and everyone wants to know that acquiring their prescription online is safe and legal and that the benefits outweigh the risks. The best way to know is to address any concerns head-on and empower yourself with the correct information to make a wise and informed choice. Common concerns include:

  • The safety of your personal information. You’ll be comforted to know that online prescriptions and health services are required to follow the privacy and security standards imposed by HIPAA laws. Many of these policies have been adapted so that patients are provided safe and secure healthcare digitally.
  • Whether you are going to get your prescription in time. Your online prescription can be filled in one-of-two ways. If you need your prescription immediately, it’s best to get it filled through your local pharmacy – some of which offer delivery services! If you require regular or long-term medication, your online prescription can be sent to an online pharmacy. Some require a few days to fulfill and deliver orders, while others may take a week or more.
  • Is your order going to be correct? Doctors and pharmacists have many safeguards in place to ensure that the proper medications and doses are administered to their patients. With that being said, medications are required to provide a description of the pill on the label of the bottle. However, you receive your online prescription, you should always make sure you are comparing the pills in the bottle to the description on the label. Always consult a health professional if you are unsure.
  • Can I legally and safely acquire my online prescription from a digital pharmacy? Absolutely! Doctors are only going to send your prescription to a licensed pharmacy – you should never accept drugs from any website that does require a prescription from a healthcare professional.

What You Should Know About Illegal Pharmacies, and How to Spot and Avoid Them

If you’re considering using an online pharmacy to fulfill your prescription, it’s best to have your doctor choose the pharmacy or consult with them if you are choosing one outside of their network. Illegal and unethical online pharmacies could potentially send you outdated, counterfeit, or incorrect prescriptions. Also, these sites may put your privacy at risk and prescribe drugs that have harmful interactions. It’s unlikely that you will stumble upon an illegal or unethical pharmacy, but here is what to look out for when choosing where to order your online prescription.

  • The site does not require a prescription to administer drugs.
  • The country of origin is different than your own.
  • The country of origin seems questionable.
  • There is no visible badge from the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy.
  • Prices are suspiciously low.
  • There is no licensed pharmacist on staff to answer questions.

There are plenty of safe and legal digital pharmacies that will securely fill your online prescription. Just be sure that they have a licensed pharmacist on staff, a physical location and address in your country, and are an NABP-accredited digital pharmacy.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to see a doctor for my online prescription needs?

If you need a consultation to get your online prescription, you can either schedule an appointment at a doctor’s office or set up a digital appointment with a physician online. A visit to the doctor’s office can take days, possibly weeks, depending on how busy or backlogged the office is. Additionally, there are travel and wait times associated with in-person visits. If your situation allows it, obtaining your online prescription through a virtual doctor’s appointment is typically much quicker and more convenient. Many online healthcare providers are able to schedule a same-day consultation to quickly address your needs.

How long will it take for my online prescription to be fulfilled/delivered?

The time required to fill your online prescription is dependent on how you fill your online prescription. While the order is usually generated instantly by your medical provider, there are a few other factors that play a role in how long you will wait. If your online prescription was delivered to a local pharmacy, you can usually receive your medication on the same day. This is contingent on wait times and inventory. Digital pharmacies typically have the required inventory; however, shipping can take a few days or up to a week. 

How do I get my prescription to an online pharmacy?

To have your online prescription sent to a digital pharmacy, you can do two things. Tell your doctor that you prefer your script to be fulfilled online, and they send the prescription to a digital pharmacy, rather than a brick-and-mortar store, or they give you a hand-written script that you use to upload to a digital pharmacy platform.

For a convenient and streamlined online prescription experience, you can schedule your consultation with a physician through a telehealth service. These platforms can send your medication directly to an online pharmacy or fill your online prescription through their own or affiliated digital pharmacies. You can see the doc and get your meds without ever leaving your home

Why can’t I receive an online prescription for controlled substances?

You cannot obtain an online prescription through a virtual consultation; they require an in-person assessment. This is due to the Ryan Haight Act of 2008, in which Ryan Haight died from a narcotic drug overdose. This individual acquired the drugs through an illegal digital pharmacy, but the incident led lawmakers to question the safety of prescribing controlled substances through alternative means.

It’s important to point out that you can still receive an online prescription for certain controlled substances. This is done by visiting your physician in person. After a consultation and an assessment, they can send your online prescription to your local pharmacy or possibly a digital pharmacy if it makes more sense in your situation.

The safest and easiest way to get an online prescription is through a trusted telehealth provider!

Now that you are well informed on how to make safe and convenient decisions regarding how to receive your medications, you can go directly to Telegra MD to get started on your virtual consultation. Signing up is simple, free, and requires no obligation; you’re only charged if you set an appointment!

After signing up, set a consultation with any of the fully licensed and trusted physicians to get started on ordering your online prescription. The physicians at Telegra MD provide services and medications related to medical conditions, dermatology, psychiatry, and therapy. Even better, you’re charged a flat rate.

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