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Online Medicine

writtenByWritten by: Tessa Chatham Registered Nurse
Tessa Chatham Registered Nurse

Tessa Chatham Registered Nurse

Tessa is a MSN prepared Registered Nurse with 10 years of critical care experience in healthcare. When not practicing clinical nursing, she enjoys academic writing and is passionate about helping those affected by medical aliments live healthy lives.

Read more posts by this author.
reviewBy Reviewed by: Dr. Katalin Karolyi
Reviewer

Dr. Katalin Karolyi

Katalin Karolyi, M.D. earned her medical degree at the University of Debrecen. After completing her residency program in pathology at the Kenezy Hospital, she obtained a postdoctoral position at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, Orlando, Florida.

March 29, 2021 Read Time - 6 minutes

Can You Buy Online Medicine?

Prescription medication is available to purchase online. The internet and access to pharmacies online are available as resources for people across the United States. Buying prescription medications online is convenient and efficient, but should come with caution as many fake or illegitimate websites exist to sell pharmaceuticals. Before purchasing online medicine, you must seek a medical evaluation by a licensed doctor.

  • Book on our free mobile app or website.

    Our doctors operate in all 50 states and same day appointments are available every 15 minutes.

  • See a doctor, get treatment and a prescription at your local pharmacy.

  • Use your health insurance just like you normally would to see your doctor.

PlushCare-App-Steps

Can I Get a Prescription Online?

Prescription medications are available online after being prescribed by a licensed doctor. Medical doctors are licensed to prescribe online medicine through virtual platforms such as PlushCare. 

Telemedicine has increased dramatically over the past year due to the global pandemic, and telehealth, online medical treatment, and online medicine is here to stay. Getting your prescriptions filled online may be more convenient if you have multiple prescriptions. In a recent study, patients on multiple medications and those with prescription plans used online pharmacies more frequently.

Can Doctors Prescribe Online Medicine?

A licensed medical doctor can prescribe medications online. If you are looking to get online medicine, make sure to only use medications that have been prescribed by your doctor or another trusted professional who is licensed to write prescriptions in the U.S. 

Other licensed professionals who can write prescriptions include:

  • Physicians (MD or DO)
  • Dentists (DDS)
  • Podiatrists (DPM)
  • Advanced nurse practitioners (ANP)
  • Physician assistants (PA)

PlushCare offers online doctors who graduated from the top 50 U.S. medical schools and have over 15 years of experience on average. PlushCare is a trusted source to obtain online medicine and medical treatment.

Can I Get an Online Medicine Prescription Without Seeing a Doctor?

You must see a licensed doctor before getting a prescription either online or in-person. Many people think that since it is online, then there is no need to see a doctor, but this is false. 

The danger of online prescriptions is that there are illegal websites claiming to sell medications without the need to see a doctor. Please know that you must always have a visit, either virtual or in person, with a doctor to get prescription medications. There is no other way around it in the United States. 

The dangers of illegal online pharmacies are that these websites sell medication without valid medical prescriptions, distribute substandard drugs, or sell counterfeit drugs. These drugs may have too strong or too low of doses or may not contain the correct ingredients. There is no way to verify the contents of these medications, which is extremely dangerous. This is why all medications go through the FDA for safety. 

Only a limited number of studies have been published on internet pharmacies with regard to patient safety, professionalism, long-term follow-up, and pharmaceutical legitimacy verification, but all point to the dangers of online prescriptions and the need for regulations.

How to Find a Legitimate Online Pharmacy

You can follow a few precautions to ensure that you are dealing with a legitimate online pharmacy. A few key points to remember when buying online medicine prescriptions include:

  • The website will always require a doctor’s prescription, no exceptions.
  • The website provides a physical address and telephone number in the United States.
  • The online pharmacy has a licensed pharmacist on staff to answer your questions. This is often located as a “chat box”.
  • The pharmacy is licensed, which you can verify through the FDA or your state board of pharmacy websites.

Some red flags to look for when dealing with online pharmacies, as these can be signs of illegitimate dealings, include:

  • The website does not require a doctor’s prescription.
  • The pharmacy is not licensed in the United States and by your state board of pharmacy.
  • There is no option to speak with a licensed pharmacist on staff to answer your questions.
  • The pharmacy sends medicine that looks different than what you receive at your local pharmacy.
  • The pharmacy sends packages that are broken, damaged, or in a foreign language.
  • The medications sent have no expiration date or are expired.
  • The pharmacy offers extreme discounts or prices that seem “too good to be true”.
  • The pharmacy charges for medications; however, you never receive the medications.
  • The website does not display clear, written protections regarding your personal and financial information.

When following these guidelines to protect yourself from illegitimate online pharmacies, remember to first visit your doctor so that they can help find a legitimate online pharmacy.

How Do Online Doctor Visits Work?

Online doctor visits are also referred to as telehealth or telemedicine. Online doctor visits work by using technological devices, such as smartphones, tablets, or computers to see and talk to a doctor. These devices are used to visit your doctor instead of an in-person examination room. With telehealth, people can visit a doctor from the comfort of their own homes. 

Online doctor visits are becoming more popular as doctors and patients appreciate the benefits. According to the CDC’s cross-sectional analysis of telehealth, “The 154% increase in telehealth visits during the last week of March 2020, compared with the same period in 2019 might have been related to pandemic-related telehealth policy changes and public health guidance.” This confirms the shift in healthcare delivery amid the COVID-19 pandemic.


Read: How to Make the Most of Your Virtual Doctor Appointment


How Do I Get a Virtual Doctor Visit?

Virtual doctor visits can be set up online through PlushCare. PlushCare offers virtual primary care and mental health treatment when you need it. You can book an appointment online to see a highly skilled online doctor from one of the top 50 medical schools. Virtual doctor visits are safe and effective, and are helping make access to healthcare more convenient. 

  • Book on our free mobile app or website.

    Our doctors operate in all 50 states and same day appointments are available every 15 minutes.

  • See a doctor, get treatment and a prescription at your local pharmacy.

  • Use your health insurance just like you normally would to see your doctor.

PlushCare-App-Steps

Get an Online Medicine Prescription

It is easy to get a prescription from an online doctor through PlushCare. Physicians diagnose, treat, and prescribe medications via phone or video consultation. PlushCare is licensed in all 50 states and can provide a safe and easy way to see and speak to an online doctor and get your prescriptions sent to your nearest pharmacy. Book an appointment today to speak with a PlushCare doctor.


Read More About Online Medicine


Sources:

PlushCare is dedicated to providing you with accurate and trustworthy health information.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Trends in the use of telehealth during the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic-United States, January-March 2020. Accessed on March 7, 2021 from https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6943a3.htm  

Fittler A, Bősze G, Botz L. Evaluating aspects of online medication safety in long-term follow-up of 136 Internet pharmacies: illegal rogue online pharmacies flourish and are long-lived. J Med Internet Res. 2013 Sep 10;15(9):e199. Accessed on March 8, 2021 from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24021777/ 

Mazer M, DeRoos F, Shofer F, Hollander J, McCusker C, Peacock N, Perrone J. Medications from the web: use of online pharmacies by emergency department patients. J Emerg Med. 2012 Feb;42(2):227-32. Accessed on March 7, 2021 from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20656438/ 

US Food and Drug Administration. Considering an online pharmacy? Accessed on March 7, 2021 from https://www.fda.gov/drugs/besaferx-your-source-online-pharmacy-information/considering-online-pharmacy 

Washington State Department of Health. Who Can Prescribe and Administer Prescriptions in Washington State. Accessed on March 21, 2021 at
https://www.doh.wa.gov/LicensesPermitsandCertificates/ProfessionsNewReneworUpdate/PharmacyCommission/WhoCanPrescribeandAdministerPrescriptions

Most PlushCare articles are reviewed by M.D.s, Ph.Ds, N.P.s, nutritionists and other healthcare professionals. Click here to learn more and meet some of the professionals behind our blog. The PlushCare blog, or any linked materials are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment. For more information click here.

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