Pros and Cons of Mail-Order Medication

By Megan Morrow
Published January 31, 2019


Online shopping has gone well beyond books and shoes to now include mail-order medicine. More consumers are taking advantage of the convenience of mail-order services available from most large pharmacies and even Amazon. Not to be confused with discount suppliers that may not be reputable, mail-order pharmacies are licensed.

Just because you can order your prescriptions online or through the mail, does that mean you should? First, it is important to determine your coverage – it may be worth a call to your insurance provider to discuss the possibility of mail-order delivery.

As with most things, there are pros and cons to this service:

PROS
  • You can save time and money. If you loathe driving to the pharmacy each month and waiting in a long line, you will likely enjoy the convenience of mail-order medication. Likewise, check your insurance plan to determine costs, since you may be able to order generic versions or a 90-day supply at a discount, including free shipping.
  • You do not have to remember to re-order to pick up refills. If you find yourself racing to the pharmacy the day your prescription runs out, an automatic refill program can be a great option to keep your supply stocked. Your physician will have to renew your prescription each year, but most mail-order pharmacies can take care of that call for you. If you stop taking a drug, make sure you inform the mail-order pharmacy immediately so you are not charged for something you no longer need or use.
  • You have 24/7 access. If you have questions about a prescription and appreciate the availability of instant access and support, most mail-order services have a team of pharmacists on-call 24/7.
CONS
  • You cannot get medication immediately. If you have been prescribed an antibiotic for a sinus infection, for example, you will likely need to make an in-person trip to your local pharmacy, rather than wait for it to arrive in the mail. As well, some drugs have shipping restrictions.
  • You lose personal service. If you enjoy talking with a pharmacist in person, asking questions about other medications or catching up on personal information, mail-order may not be the best option, since it negates the human touch.
  • Your compounded medication may not qualify. Few mail-order services send made-to-order or customized medication.

Ideally, patients should fill all of their prescriptions at one location, so that pharmacists are aware of any potential drug interactions. If you fill most of your prescriptions at a local pharmacy and then add something via mail order, or vice versa, let the pharmacist know about the other medications you are taking.

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The material presented here is for information purposes only and is not to be considered an offer to buy or sell any security. This report was prepared from sources believed to be reliable but it is not guaranteed as to accuracy and it is not a complete summary of statement of all available data. Information and opinions are current up to the date of publication and are subject to change without notice. The purchase and sale of securities should be conducted on an individual basis considering the risk tolerance and investment objective of each investor and with the advice and counsel of a professional advisor. The opinions expressed by Ms. Morrow are strictly her own and do not necessarily reflect those of Herbert J. Sims & Co., Inc. or their affiliates. This is not a solicitation to buy or an offer to sell any particular investment. All investment involves risk and may result in a loss of principal. Investors should carefully consider their own circumstances before making any investment decision.

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