A box of prescription medicine.
Some pharmacies will delivery prescriptions to peoples' doorsteps.

The Pros and Cons of Prescription Delivery

We’re seeing more doctors switch to telemedicine which is so convenient for patients. Your physician’s office can even send a copy of your prescription to your pharmacy of choice. It’s great that you are able to order the medical care you require without leaving the house, but now you need to go pick up your medicine…or do you? Now there is prescription delivery.

What Is Prescription Delivery?

Just as it sounds, prescription delivery is when your pharmacy has your medication delivered to your door. They can deliver directly from the pharmacy or send your medication via registered mail or another shipping company. As long as the method used to deliver your medications is traceable and auditable, you will be able to receive your prescriptions and over the counter medication without physically going to the pharmacy. In some provinces, the patient (or the patient’s agent) is required to provide identification and sign for the package. Prescriptions sent for delivery need to be delivered to the person directly and the company will usually provide a delivery window to ensure you are home.

How Does Prescription Delivery Work?

Many participating pharmacies enable you to create an account to sign up for prescription delivery. The pharmacy collects the requested items—prescribed medication requires the signed prescription from your doctor—and pack them up. Orders are typically sent in packaging that does not indicate it is from a pharmacy or contains prescription medication. Some shipping partners ensure that orders are sent in tamper-evident corrugated boxes. Drugs that require refrigeration, like insulin, are kept at the correct temperature during transit. Until the drugs are delivered to you or an agent you specify in advance, the drugs are still in the care and control of the pharmacy. Dispensing is considered complete when you sign off and take custody of the medication upon delivery.

How Is Prescription Delivery Beneficial?

We live in a world where delivery of goods yields many benefits. Licenced pharmacies may be able to guarantee same-day delivery if you are unable to get to the pharmacy yourself. This benefit ensures you get your medications on time, even if you have a schedule that does not have wiggle room for errands like pharmacy pick-ups. As long as your pharmacy is set up for delivery, you can get a vast majority of your prescription medication sent to your home. The pharmacy ensures that if your package requires special handling, such as storage in coolers or use of refrigerated gel packs, they will keep your medication safe. If your pharmacy has a shipping partner, they will provide a courier tracking number, so you know where your package is and when to expect it.

Pros of Prescription Delivery

There are many reasons to consider getting your next prescription delivered.

You Can Arrange Auto Renewals

With prescription delivery, you have the ability to arrange auto refills and prescription renewals. Some companies work directly with your doctor to make sure your prescription does not run out and they will ship out your medications at pre-scheduled intervals.

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Saves Time

It’s enough to have to go to some doctors to get a prescription, but on top of that, you need to take time out of your day to go to the pharmacy and wait, or come back later and pick up your prescription when it is ready. It’s one less stop to make between the doctor and getting the medication you need. There’s also no additional charge for prescription delivery and there is same day or overnight delivery for an additional charge.

Offers Privacy

Not having to have a drug consultation in public can be convenient. Most pharmacies have a queue to keep the people in line a short distance away from the till, but they are still within earshot if you have questions for the pharmacist regarding a new prescription. Some companies have a pharmacy call you before your prescription delivery to consult you on how to take your medicine and answer your questions.

Cons of Prescription Delivery

If prescription delivery was a perfect experience, everyone would do it. There are some drawbacks to having your prescriptions delivered instead of picking them up.

Prescription deliveries require a physical address, you cannot use a PO box and unless you pay for expedited shipping, it may take a few days to receive your prescription. Also, delivered prescriptions do not usually include compound medications. You may need to find a local pharmacy that will do the compounding, and these pharmacies may not deliver.

You do not get the personal touch of speaking with a pharmacist at the time of pick-up. You’ll need to call in to speak with someone if you have questions about your prescription or how to take the medicine.

Another downfall is if you are not home and the package requires a signature, you will be left a delivery notice card and you will need to go pick up the package from the post office. If the package does not arrive, it needs to be re-shipped (free of charge, but it prolongs the time it takes to receive your medication).

Keep in mind companies may not be able to deliver to a rural address. You’ll either need to choose a different carrier or drive to pick up your medications from another location (like a post office). You may not receive pharmacy deliveries on the weekends.

Who Benefits From Prescription Delivery?

Of course, it is a great perk for those who are short on time, but prescription delivery is also ideal for many other people:

  • Those who are living in remote communities with reduced access to pharmacies
  • Those with mobility issues
  • Folks with transportation issues
  • Anyone feeling unwell
  • Those with chronic illness
  • Parents or guardians of young children

Overall, prescription delivery works very well. It’s not too much different than going to the pharmacy yourself. You’re able to get your medication consultation over the phone, and your order will be handled according to pharmacy policies. Rest assured that the pharmacy does everything they can to ensure your medications are delivered efficiently and safely.