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Amazon Pharmacy is a welcome time-saver

The process of getting prescriptions filled is one that’s antiquated and inconvenient. We can even say outdated in this modern age of online shopping. The doctor first needs to write the prescription and electronically send it to a pharmacy that we designate. We then need to check in with the pharmacy to see when it will be ready for pickup. Lastly we drive to the store, wait in line, and pay for our prescription. That all can take 1 to 3 days based on my experience. I’m not sure why I tolerated this for years; chock it up to inertia oand the resistance of trying something new.

This inertia was tested a few months ago when Walgreen’s, the chain I’ve been using since the beginning of Covid, decided to bow to the anti-abortion lobby and stop offering a variety of legal prescriptions that could terminate a pregnancy.

From March 7, 2023 NY TImes:

The company confirmed late last week that it would not distribute mifepristone, the first pill in a two-drug medication abortion regimen, weeks after it and other large pharmacy chains received letters signed by those attorneys general. In each of the states, abortion is either banned or laws or proposed or pending legislation would prevent pharmacists from dispensing pills.

Like many thousands of their customers, I emailed their CEO and COO to question their decision. I never heard back and decided never to do business with them again.

While their are a number of mail order drug companies, including the Cost Plus Drug Company from Mark Cuban, I went the path of least resistance and, as an Amazon Prime member, signed up for an account with the Amazon Pharmacy. It took about 5 minutes to do – entering your personal information and health insurance information (that Amazon promises to keep confidential according to the HIPPA laws). I then entered my existing perscriptions and requested that that they be transferred from Walgreen’s to them. Their online forms use popup lists of drugs and pharmacies, so it was simply selecting from lists. Less than a day later I received emails telling me that the transfers were complete.

The website is well organized and easy to use. Under each medication is an illustration of the pill, a detailed description of the medication, its side effects and possible interactions.

Even though I have insurance, many of my prescription drugs turned out to be less expensive than I was previously paying using insurance. Often you’ll be given a choice of two costs, one using your insurance and the other a special Amazon Prime cost. Surprisingly Amazon was usually lower, sometimes by as much as half. By not going through insurance, you don’t face the restriction of having your prescription held up when you’re trying to fill it a week or two early. I’ve often experienced that when trying to fill it early before a long trip.

Delivery is free. In all of my orders, delivery came by UPS within 2 days from when it was ordered. Each prescription came in a large whire padded envelope with a booklet of information about the drug.

Are there any disadvantages? A few. You can’t get a prescription immediately, and occasionally a 2 day wait might be undesirable. And you can’t stop into another branch of your drugstore while traveling if you need an emergency supply of one of your prescriptions.

So far it’s been a hassle free experience, much like all my purchases from Amazon. Best of all, no more lines at the pharmacy. My only regret is that I waited so long to do it.