In the United States alone, 60% of adults have a chronic disease, and 40% have two or more. These conditions, which last for at least one year, include diabetes and heart disease. These illnesses require continuous treatment, such as the use of prescription (RX) medications.
In fact, patients with chronic diseases are some of the top users of RX drugs. For example, 98% of people with diabetes and 89% of patients with arthritis use them.
If you have a chronic disease yourself, your RX medications are likely refillable. The good news is that pharmacies can refill prescriptions online.
However, there are a few things you need to do before you can get your prescriptions refilled online. We rounded up the steps in this guide, so be sure to read on.
Check the Prescription Label for Refill Details
The label on the bottle or box of your prescription meds should tell you how many refills you have left. For example, if it says four, you can have an online pharmacy refill it four times. If it says “no refills” or “0 refills left,” you need to have your doctor renew your prescription.
Please note that under US federal law, some prescriptions are not refillable. These include controlled substances, which require a new prescription every time.
Non-controlled substances are those that you can refill. These include medicines for conditions like diabetes and hypertension. The same goes for pain relievers and anti-inflammatories, such as those for arthritis.
Mind the Cutoff Date
Some prescriptions come with a cutoff date, which is their expiration date. It marks the day the prescription becomes invalid, so you can no longer get refills, even if you still have a few left. In this case, you need to call your doctor to renew your prescription before you can buy your next batch of meds.
Fortunately, many medical practitioners now offer telehealth services, 80% as of 2020. If your doctor is one of them, you may be able to renew or get a prescription online.
You should also let your doctor know that you plan to refill your prescriptions online. This way, you can give your healthcare provider a heads up for the call they’ll get from the online pharmacy. You can also ask your doctor to inform you once they’ve spoken with the pharmacy that will refill your meds.
For prescriptions without a cutoff, these are usually valid for one year from the date of issue. For example, if your doctor wrote the prescription on January 01, 2021, it’s valid until January 01, 2022. So long as it also indicates the number of refills, an online pharmacy should be able to refill it for you.
Create an Account With Your Chosen Online Pharmacy
Most online pharmacies require patients to sign up, just like e-commerce stores. For starters, online pharmacies have to verify their customers’ identities. They also need to validate the prescriptions provided by their patients.
Don’t worry, as you only have to provide a few details, such as your complete name, address, contact info, and email.
Upload Your Prescription Online
Once you’ve finished signing up, the pharmacy will ask you to upload your prescription. You also need to provide proof of identification, such as your driver’s license or any other ID card.
You can usually do this using a photo upload tool within the account you created with the pharmacy. You can either take a picture of the documents or scan them and then upload the saved images.
Please keep in mind that legitimate pharmacies will only refill valid prescriptions. To validate the prescription, they will contact the medical professional who issued it. They will also compare the patient’s name on the prescription with the ID you uploaded.
Only after this verification process will pharmacies refill your prescriptions. The pharmacy will call you after they’ve validated your documents. You can then complete your purchases online and pay using a check, debit card, or credit card.
When you order the refills online, you can have them mailed directly to your home. You can also choose to pick up your meds at their brick-and-mortar store at a later date.
Consider Automatic Refills
Some pharmacies also refill RX online automatically or on a scheduled basis. These are for patients whose prescriptions indicate multiple refills. Most of them take maintenance medications for diseases like diabetes or hypertension.
Automating online repeat prescriptions can help you avoid running out of meds. If you sign up for an auto-refill program, the pharmacy will send you a new batch of medicines on your chosen date. For example, you can have the pharmacy ship your meds every 15th of the month.
Moreover, you no longer need to upload your prescriptions each time you need to get them refilled. That’s because the pharmacy will only need to confirm your prescription’s validity once. They will then securely store your data online for future reference.
As a bonus, some online pharmacies offer discounts to customers who sign up for auto refills. So, not only do such programs help you prevent running out of meds, but they also help you save some cash.
The only time you need to upload a new prescription is if your current one expires or runs out of refills. The pharmacy should notify you if you only have one refill left. This gives you enough time to have your doctor issue a new prescription with a new set of refills.
Automatically Refill Prescriptions Online to Avoid Running Out of Meds
As you can see, it’s far more convenient to refill prescriptions online. It’s even more convenient if you choose to have them automatically refilled. You also get to avoid the crowds, and you won’t have to worry about running out of supplies and missing doses.
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