Online Pharmacy Overview
The Telehealth industry has rapidly developed over the past decade. This evolution in the field of medical services has been significantly influenced by the fundamental concept that doctors and other medical professionals are now able to offer modern alternatives to many antiquated constructs throughout the industry. The concept of the online pharmacy has revolutionized the way patients are able to interact with their physicians, how they receive their medication, and most importantly, how much they pay for that medication. Online Pharmacies can help to save patients up to 80% on their medications. Given that the many services of an online pharmacy and medication delivery may be foreign to those who are new to the concept, this article is meant to provide an in-depth overview of the various providers and the value they provide.
There are two general categories when it comes to filling a prescription online: providers can write you a new prescription and fill it, and providers who will simply fill an existing prescription. An online provider who possesses the capability to offer digital consultations with a licensed medical professional, and subsequently provide prescription-based treatment for a limited number of medications, defines a Digital Clinic. Check out our Review on Digital Clinics and learn how they can help you today.
If you have an existing prescription, an online pharmacy offers patients the ability to conveniently purchase currently-prescribed and over-the-counter medication of any kind, at a more affordable price, and have it discreetly shipped directly to your door or a participating pharmacy of your choosing.
How Does an Online Pharmacy Work?
Before deciding if an Online Pharmacy is right for you, it is important to understand the process and how they operate. The most important concept to understand before you consider utilizing an online pharmacy, is that you must possess an existing prescription in order to participate in their medication delivery and online prescription-filling services. In addition to the convenience and discretion provided by online pharmacies and prescription delivery services, the true value comes from their relationship with pharmaceutical wholesalers. This relationship circumvents your need to process your prescription through your insurance provider, and allows online pharmacies to purchase your medication, fill your prescription, and sell it to you at a much more ethical price than your local pharmacy. Typically, your online your online pharmacy will begin by asking you to verify your identity to protect against fraudulent purchases. Once your identity has been verified, your online pharmacy will require that your current primary care physician provide a legitimate prescription order for your medication. After your online pharmacy has received your prescription from your doctor, you will provide shipping and payment information. Next, your online pharmacy will be able to fill your prescription online immediately without having to wait in line at the brick and mortar pharmacy. Finally, your medication can either be delivered directly to your door in discreet packaging, or some online pharmacies will offer in-store pickup if you prefer that method. The processes and procedures employed by individual online pharmacies may differ, which will be discussed in the brief overview provided below.
Are Online Pharmacies Legal?
Short answer: yes. Those who may be familiarizing themselves with the concept of an online pharmacy for the first time will likely have an understandable degree of skepticism about the legitimacy of it all, and for good reason. Unfortunately, there are certain illegitimate and/or illegal online medication marketplaces which do not provide suitable security or authentication measures. It is critically important that consumers have the tools necessary to verify the legitimacy of an online pharmacy before supplying their private and confidential information. https://www.legitscript.com/ provides consumers with quick and easy monitoring of 78,065 “internet pharmacies” and offers varying levels of certification for providers to earn. In 2015, the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) instituted the dot pharmacy domain program. This program allows for legitimate online pharmacies to a domain of “.pharmacy” rather than “.com” and can be checked at https://safe.pharmacy/. Certain online pharmacies may possess a “. pharmacy” domain even though they use a “.com” domain, so check the website or simply try typing “. pharmacy” instead of “.com” at the end of the URL. The NABP provides federally approved accreditation for online pharmacies at https://nabp.pharmacy/programs/digital-pharmacy/. For further verification, consumer can also check https://www.fsmb.org/contact-a-state-medical-board to see if an online pharmacies license is in good standing. A final measure can be to see if the website is in the business of selling non-FDA-approved medications. Any legitimate US-based online pharmacies sell FDA-approved medication exclusively.
What Prescription Medication Can Be Filled Through an Online Pharmacy?
While federal law does prohibit the sale of controlled substances through online pharmacies, this does not pertain to the filling of the prescription. These controlled substances include:
- Narcotic pain relievers
- Anabolic steroids
If a patient’s primary care physician has already provided them with a prescription for one of these controlled substances however, the patient will still be able to have that prescription filled and paid for via an online pharmacy. It is the prerogative of the online pharmacy to decide whether or not they will supply these types of medications via their delivery service. In short, any prescription medication can be purchased through an online pharmacy if the provider allows for it and an existing prescription exists.
What Online Pharmacy Should I Use?
There are a number of certified and legitimate online pharmacies available to consumers. This guide will identify a number of online pharmacies, identify overall benefits of the provider, the services they provide, if they offer licensed pharmacist consultations, and the regions supported by that online pharmacy. The online pharmacy providers that will be covered include:
- Honeybee Health
- Ro Pharmacy
Honeybee Health Overview
Headquarters: Culver City, CA
Founded in 2017
Provider Type: Online Pharmacy
Honeybee Health is a HIPAA-accredited, .pharmacy certified, and LegitScript certified online pharmacy. Honeybee Health offers customers a convenient user-interface where they can simply search for their medication of choice, create an account, have their prescription transferred electronically to Honeybee Health in Culver City, CA and have their prescription delivered directly to their door in discreet packaging.
How Much does Honeybee Health Cost?
As previously noted, the key advantage of using an online pharmacy is the cost savings compared to going through your insurance provider and purchasing your medication from your local pharmacy. Honeybee Health is able to provide customers with such substantial costs savings for two primary reasons; they do not incur any expenses from a brick and mortar store front, and they do not offer any name brand medications. Honeybee health does not offer the purchase of their medication through insurance, which actually allows for further cost savings passed on to the consumer. The Honeybee Health website provides a detailed breakdown of the pricing experienced by a traditional pharmacy compared to their pricing for a typical medication.
As you can see, the medication is purchased from the wholesaler at a cost of $10. After factoring in the cost that your insurance may cover ($7), the markup on the medication purchased from the traditional retail pharmacy is nearly 10x that of the ethical markup charged by Honeybee Health. Due to this significant cost savings, Honeybee Health does not typically offer any special deals.
Does Honeybee Health Deliver in My Area?
Honeybee Health currently boasts a tremendous area of coverage in the United States, serving 44 states and seeking certification for the remaining. The only states in which Honeybee Health is currently unavailable include Montana, Nebraska, Kansas, Michigan, Indiana, and Arkansas.
Other Key Notes on Honeybee Health
Honeybee Health currently does not offer any controlled substances, insulin, or refrigerated medication. They are currently working to provide certain controlled substances and negotiating prices for cheaper insulin costs, and customers can be added to a waiting list. Standard shipping is free of charge and usually takes between 7-10 business days, however, USPS Priority Mail shipping is available for an additional $10. Honeybee Health pharmacists are available for consultations regarding your prescription or any other medication related inquiries during normal business hours Monday – Friday 8am to 6pm PST. Visit Honeybee Health today and find out how much time and money you can save purchasing your prescription medications from an online pharmacy and having the medication shipped directly to your door in unmarked, discreet packaging.
Headquarters: New Haven, CT
Founded in 2015
Provider Type: Online Pharmacy
Valisure boasts itself as the first analytic online pharmacy in the United States. Valisure has received LegitScript certification, ISO 17025 (International Standards Organization) Lab accreditation, and .pharmacy verification. In order to separate themselves from other online pharmacies within the industry, Valisure provides their customers with a Certificate of Analysis (CoA) for every order placed through them at no extra cost. This Certificate of Analysis is awarded to medications that pass chemical analysis testing to ensure the quality of each and every batch of medication that is delivered through Valisure. This analysis currently tests for the following:
- Common Impurities – Carcinogens and/or toxins
- Major Inactive Ingredients – Filler ingredients that identify counterfeits
- Active Ingredient ID – Check that drug contains correct active ingredient
- Dosage – Measuring the amount of the active ingredient
- Dissolution – Measuring how long it takes the drug to dissolve
This amazing service is provided to each and every customer of Valisure at no additional cost when an individual chooses to have their prescription medication delivered through their service. This service can also be purchased separately without the purchase of new medication. Valisure also claims that to be the only pharmacy in the United States to provide this exact testing. Customers will simply create an account, select their medication, have their prescription transferred, and wait for their medication to be delivered directly to their door.
Valisure Testing Restrictions
According to Valisure, the following restrictions are in place on their analysis: and medication paid for by Medicaid, Medicare, or any government programs cannot be tested, controlled substances cannot be tested, biological drugs like Insulin cannot be tested, available for private individual use only, testing is not available in Massachusetts, or Virginia.
How Much Does Valisure Cost?
Valisure differs from most online pharmacies, in that they do accept a handful of insurances. Customers can call (833) 497-7370 with their RxBIN and RxPCN number handy to find out if Valisure is in Network with your Pharmacy Benefits Manager. However, like most online pharmacies, it is often more cost efficient to purchase a generic brand of your prescription medication and leave the insurance companies out of it. Since the cost of each prescription varies from medication to medication, it is difficult to identify specific costs of the service. Your exact cost will be determined as you select your specific medicaction.
Does Valisure Deliver in My Area?
Currently, Valisure offers their discreet prescription delivery service in 38 state throughout the United States and international shipping is currently unavailable. States available for shipping include AK, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, HI, IA, ID, IL, IN, MA, MD, ME, MN, MO MT, NC, ND, NH, NM, NJ, NV, NY, OH, PA, RI, SC, SD, TX, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WY and the District of Columbia. Valisure can also ship and over-the-counter medication or supplements anywhere in the United States.
Other Key Notes on Valisure
Valisure currently does not offer the shipment of controlled substances as they cannot legally be tested, and therefor cannot be the standard for their Certificate of Analysis. If your medication is still not available, you can speak with customer care and request that your prescription medication be added to their list for approval. Valisure claims that processing and chemical analysis can take 2-5 business days, while the medication testing process can take as long as 2-4 weeks. Certified pharmacy professionals are available for consultations Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm EST. Please visit Valisure today and learn how you can preserve your time, money, and safety by purchasing your prescription medication through their online pharmacy and having it delivered directly to your door in discreet packaging.
Headquarters: San Francisco, CA
Founded in 2015
Provider Type: Online Pharmacy
Alto is an online pharmacy accredited through the Utilization Review Accreditation Commission and certified as a VIPPS-Accredited Pharmacy through the NABP. Alto has separated themselves from other online pharmacies through their capacity to act as a full-service pharmacy. This means that Alto can discreetly deliver prescription medication of any kind, including controlled substances, directly to your door in discreet packaging. With a proper prescription provided from your primary care physician, Alto offers fast prescription delivery for everyday issues and complex conditions. Alto also stand out from other online Pharmacies in that they offer coverage through all major insurance plans, including government-administered plans, FSA’s and HAS’s. This gives Alto a unique value offer for pricing that few online pharmacies can provide. Whether it is cheaper for you to purchase the generic brand outside of insurance or go with the copay through your insurance provider, Alto is there to help. Alto boasts that it has helped save its customers over $23 million on their medications.
Alto also makes it incredibly simple for customers to have their prescription transferred over. Patients can simply download an app, visit the website, or call 1-(800)-874-5881, Alto will search for any additional savings on your medication and reach out to schedule your free deliver as soon as your pharmacy has provided the necessary information. If it is a new prescription, you can simply have your doctor send it to them instead, and Alto will reach out to schedule your free prescription delivery as soon as it has been filled.
Once your order has been filled and your free prescription delivery has been scheduled, your personal courier is trackable and will be in contact with you throughout the delivery process in order to hand-deliver your medication, so that it is not sitting outside. If you are unavailable to receive your medication in person, you can designate a safe place for it to be left or authorize a representative to sign in your place. For controlled substances and any medications exceeding $500 you or your authorized representative must be there to sign for the medication.
How Much Does Alto Cost?
Alto employs a number of methods designed specifically to provide their clients with the absolute lowest prices possible for their prescription medication. By eliminating brick and mortar stores, purchasing medication directly from the wholesaler, offering payment through all major insurance providers, HSA’s, FSA’s, searching online for any additional discounts available, and providing free shipping, if your not saving tons of money, you will at least never be spending a penny more than you would at your local retail pharmacy with the added bonus of not having to leave your house.
Does Alto Deliver in My Area?
Unfortunately, one of the only downsides to Alto’s online pharmacy is their limited area of operation. While Alto is growing rapidly, they currently only service the following areas:
- San Francisco Bay Area
- Los Angeles and Orange County
- Denver-Boulder Metro Area
- Las Vegas
- San Diego (Fertility Medication Only)
- Sacramento (Fertility Medication Only)
Other Key Notes on Alto
Alto can offer same-day shipping if your account has been established and you live within their area of service. Pharmacists are available for consultation via test, chat, or email Monday through Friday 9am – 9pm PT and Saturday through Sunday 10am – 6pm PT. If you are living in one of the regions above, are paying too much for your medication, are sick of waiting in line at the pharmacy for your prescription, then visit Alto today and see save yourself some time and money.