How Do I Get an Online Drug Prescription?

Ordering prescription medications online is becoming more and more popular.
Some prescriptions may be purchased for a discount online.
A person may choose to get an online drug prescription in order to save time.
Filling prescriptions online may be more convenient for people who are disabled or who have a chronic illness.
Online prescriptions have been criticized for the potential of abuse.
Article Details
  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 23 October 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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There are two ways to buy prescription drugs online. One involves obtaining a prescription from a medical doctor and sending it to an online pharmacy for filling. The other involves finding a pharmacy that will provide an online consultation with a medical doctor who will consider the patient's needs remotely and prescribe medications for him, without an in-person exam. Then, the online pharmacy will allow him to purchase the medications he needs, shipping them to the address he provides.

A person many choose to get an online drug prescription because he is able to find good deals or save time he would normally spend standing in line at his local pharmacy. The process of obtaining prescription drugs in this way doesn’t differ very much from going to a brick-and-mortar store to purchase medicines. The patient presents a prescription, sending it through the mail or faxing it in, and the pharmacist provides the medication and charges the patient. There are even some online pharmacies that accept medical insurance.

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The laws in some countries also allow a person to get an online drug prescription and have it filled on the Internet. In some places, the law does not require a doctor to have a face-to-face meeting with a patient in order to prescribe medication. As such, some online pharmacies provide consultations or virtual meetings with a doctor who assesses the patient’s needs and provides an online drug prescription. Often, this consultation is provided for a fee, which may not include the costs of any drugs the doctor prescribes.

Before a person can get an online drug prescription from a virtual doctor, the doctor typically requests a medical history from the patient and asks a number of questions designed to ascertain the patient’s health status, history of illness, allergies to medication and current medication use. By evaluating the symptoms the patient describes, he may be able to determine the medication the patient needs without ever seeing him in person.

While consulting a virtual doctor to get an online drug prescription may provide benefits for the patient, such as convenience, some people do question the safety of this approach. They worry that doctors may overlook important signs of illness when consulting with patients in this manner or prescribe drugs that interact badly with others the patient is taking, simply because the doctor doesn’t have extensive knowledge of the patient’s history or the ability to give a physical examination.

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Discuss this Article

anon946346
Post 5

If someone has run out of their medication, or is between insurances and can't afford paying out of pocket to see a doctor, I think these systems are good.

JimmyT
Post 4

@Emilski - I think I agree with your view on this. I mean, when you think about it, the initial visitation would have to be somewhere in person for things like high cholesterol, because they would have to take blood pressure, etc. Once it is established that you have a problem, though, I see no reason to need to go back all the time.

I don't know how different countries are handling online prescriptions and doctor's visits, but I can only see the practice growing unless laws are put in place to stop it. I don't think this is necessarily a bad thing, just something that should be carefully monitored to make sure the system isn't abused in any way.

Furthermore, if people have a wider access to ordering more drugs online, one would have to expect prices to start dropping for some medications. The major drugmakers have a pretty strong hold on most governments, though, so I couldn't see huge drops for most things.

Emilski
Post 3

@Izzy78 - Thanks for clearing that up. I was reading this article because the other day someone was trying to claim you could buy prescription painkillers online, and I didn't believe it. From what you've described, it sounds like most of what can be sold is non-addictive medications that are recurring. That seems like a good overview.

I do like the idea of being able to have a doctor visit with you online, but like the article mentions, I think that could be a problem in some cases. I don't know if I like the idea of a virtual doctor doing the initial prescription for a drug, either.

I guess maybe my stance on the whole thing is that once you've visited a doctor in person and he has prescribed a drug that you will need in the long-term (like for high cholesterol), then you can get it refilled through the internet and interact with an online doctor. I think the initial visit should be a with a real doctor, though.

Izzy78
Post 2

@TreeMan - I am pretty sure systems like this exist in the United States. They definitely exist through the phone, so I'm sure they also exist online, even though I don't have experience with either.

The most common example I can think of are the companies that send people diabetes medication through the mail. I think that is because a lot of people are shy about going to the pharmacy in person and getting their various supplies.

From what I understand, though, the medicines you can get are very limited. They can't send the things you mentioned that people try to resell. I think you have to get those in person. Most of what the online pharmacies sell are like the diabetes drugs I mentioned as well as drugs for high cholesterol or asthma. Things like that.

TreeMan
Post 1

Wow, I have never heard of anything like this. Is it possible to get online drug prescriptions in the United States, or is this just an international thing?

I could see a lot of potential problems with this system, but I'm sure they are addressed somehow. I just doubt I am familiar enough with the system to know how they avoid problems.

I think the most important would be people trying to write fake prescriptions for common street drugs like Xanex, Oxycontin, and similar drugs. I know that some people are skilled enough to write fake prescriptions and actually get them filled in person at pharmacies. It seems like sending them through a fax would be even easier.

I'm curious to see what everyone else thinks. Is being able to fill prescriptions online a good idea?

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