66% of American adults use prescription drugs. That’s billions of pills being dispensed and distributed across thousands of pharmacies.
Before COVID-19, there wasn’t much confusion surrounding the process involved in putting orders in for medication and picking those medications up. Now, certain classes of people that are at high risk of developing serious COVID-related complications have concerns. Even low-risk individuals may see aspects of their prescription ordering process change.
7 Things to Consider When Ordering Pharmaceuticals During the Pandemic
In this post, we share things to consider related to pharmaceuticals ordering in our current landscape. Keep reading to understand common hurdles and solutions better.
1. Explore Pharmacy Shipping Options to Lower Exposure Risk
Those that are in low-risk groups of developing serious COVID complications should generally feel comfortable picking up needed prescriptions if in-person transactions are their preference. High-risk groups, however, are exposing themselves to grave illness potential. They’ll want to limit how often they walk into a Walgreens, CVS, or another pharmaceutical distributor.
The best way to safeguard yourself in these cases is to exercise pharmacy shipping options. All major pharmacies offer mail order services and many smaller pharmacies that didn’t before offer them now.
Inquire with your pharmacist to learn more about mail services.
2. Fees Associated With Shipping Are Being Waived
Has cost kept you from buying pharmaceutical drugs online and having them shipped? If so, be aware that pharmacies are waiving fees during today’s state of emergency. This isn’t the case with all pharmacies, though, of course.
Inquire to see if the circumstances surrounding your pharmacy’s old policies have changed to make mail order services more accessible. Even if your pharmacy does still charge shipping, they may waive it if you order a 90-day supply of your medication.
3. 90-Day Supplies Lower Health Risks
Speaking of 90-day supplies, even if you’re picking up prescriptions in-person, 90-day supplies are a great idea since they lower health risks.
Larger supply orders mean fewer times pharmacists are preparing your medications. That lowers your risk of virus transmission via surfaces. Larger supplies also ensure that if medication shortages arise due to lockdowns, you’ll be able to hold out until more medication becomes available.
4. Shortages May Lead to Brand Shifts
While pharmaceutical companies and drug distributors have maintained good pipelines throughout the pandemic, medication resources are certainly more strained than they were in 2019. This has created conditions where some pharmacies have to work with physicians to change the brand of patient’s medications due to shortages of preferred brands.
Be prepared if you notice your medication looks different to confirm with your pharmacist that your receiving is the drug you’re meant to be taking. Also, talk to your doctor before taking an alternate brand of an identical drug. They can assure you that you’re not likely to run into any unforeseen complications when switching brands.
Some generic drugs may run short on supply, and you’ll be offered name-brand equivalents. In these cases, ask about price differences that may accompany that shift so you can make an informed buying decision.
5. Scams Are Rampant
Order delays experienced at some people’s go-to pharmacies has led customers to seek different drug providers. That migration of consumers has set the stage for opportunists to set up fake online pharmacies. These pharmacies hope to get victims to part ways with their money or private health information.
Be wary of online pharmacies that carry brands you don’t recognize. Also, be skeptical of promises that seem too good to be true, like ultra-low prices or other benefits.
All pharmacies should be licensed to practice. Their licenses can be confirmed through its state’s pharmacy board. For example, here’s a website that allows people to check the license status of Texas pharmacies.
6. Authorizations May Be Harder to Get
Ordering pharmaceuticals requires a doctor’s prescription to be on file with your pharmacy. When your medication has undergone a specified amount of refills, your doctors will need to approve more.
That has historically been a run-of-the-mill process. Because of increased demand for health services in some areas, though, doctors may not be as responsive as you’re used to. Plan for this by emailing your doctor in advance of needing a refill. That way, they can re-up your allotment while you still have medication on-hand.
7. Never Hesitate to See Your Doctor
There are unseen crisis’ going on because of COVID. Many of these come from the government’s demands that people stay home and away from one another. A specific crisis we see all too often is that some people who need medical attention to get authorized for medication use have postponed doctor’s office visits out of fear.
If you need immediate medical care, get it. Being proactive in managing your health, particularly in today’s world, is a balancing act. We may need to take on risks to prevent complications unrelated to COVID from developing.
Call your doctor or schedule a virtual appointment. If based on your health concerns, they think you could use in-person intervention, take their advice.
Ordering Pharmaceuticals Is Cumbersome but Improving
The process of ordering pharmaceuticals has been cumbersome in 2020. It’s a process that’s improving, though, as we continue to learn how best to co-exist with COVID. Vaccinations rolling out also promise to push us towards a return to normalcy.
We hope our head’s-up on things to keep in mind to acquire your medication safely serves you well. If you find yourself needing more guidance on how to order medication safely, talk to your physician.
You’re also welcome to browse more content on pharmaceutical drugs on our blog!