Due to the recent spread of COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus), people across the United States are being urged to stay home to help control this highly contagious disease. Social distancing and self isolation have led to concerns about accessing basic necessities, including prescription medications.
Here’s what you need to know about getting your medications during the Coronavirus outbreak.
Medications to Buy in Preparation for Coronavirus
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a two-week supply of your prescription medications to prepare for potential isolation. Some healthcare experts suggest getting as much as a 90-day supply.
Ready.gov also advises everyone to have over-the-counter medications on hand while distancing themselves from the public. Consider buying OTC medicines that you might need in case of illness, such as pain relievers and cough and cold medications.
Obtaining an Emergency Supply of Rx Medications
Many people are concerned about running out of their medications while staying at home. In response to this, insurance companies are modifying their policies. Many insurers have waived their early refill limits on 30-day prescriptions. Some have also waived co-pays for certain services such as testing for COVID-19.
If your insurance policy hasn’t exempted you from the refill limit, ask your doctor to write you a 90-day prescription so that you have enough medication to last through an extended period of social distancing. Note, this may not be possible for certain medications such as opioids and other controlled substances.
If you have a prescription that cannot be refilled early or extended, have a conversation with your doctor about getting an emergency Rx refill in case of COVID-19 quarantine.
Refilling your prescription? Don’t pay full price.
How to Get Your Prescriptions While in COVID-19 Isolation
If you are isolating yourself at home due to Novel Coronavirus and you need Rx medication, there are several ways to get your prescriptions safely.
- Have prescription drugs shipped to you. Some pharmacies, including Walgreens and CVS, are waiving prescription delivery fees amid the COVID-19 crisis.
- Order your medication from a mail-order pharmacy covered by your insurance plan.
- If your pharmacy doesn’t offer home delivery or mail-order services, you can transfer your Rx to a different pharmacy that provides these options.
- If you must physically go to the pharmacy for your medication, use the drive-through to minimize exposure.
Using Rx Discount Cards with Pharmacy Home Delivery
Patients utilizing pharmacy home-delivery services can still use drug discount cards on their Rx orders. To do so, simply provide the ID, BIN, PCN, and/or GROUP number displayed on your savings card when submitting a prescription request online or over the phone.
Several major retail pharmacies, including CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid, are already offering medication delivery services to customers across the U.S. Some are even providing this service for free during the COVID-19 crisis.
Use our drugstore locator to view a complete list of nearby pharmacies accepting the ScriptSave WellRx card.
What If I Need My Doctor to Write a Prescription While in Isolation?
In light of COVID-19, doctor’s offices are asking patients to call ahead if they have a fever or are experiencing symptoms of a respiratory illness. Many healthcare providers are advising patients to stay home if symptoms can be effectively managed at home. These new policies may disrupt some of your routinely-scheduled doctor’s appointments. However, you should still be able to obtain the prescriptions you need.
Call your doctor and ask about getting a new prescription if you need it. They can call the prescription into the pharmacy for you. Be sure to let your doctor know if you’ve switched pharmacies to take advantage of mail-order services.
You could also use a telehealth platform to consult with a doctor over the internet. However, keep in mind that not all drugs can be prescribed via telehealth, and laws about telehealth vary by state.
Could Pharmacies Close Due to Coronavirus?
As of this article’s publication date March 22, 2020, there has been no news of pharmacy closures in the U.S. due to Coronavirus. In countries such as Italy where the confirmed presence of COVID-19 is more widespread, pharmacies have remained open along with grocery stores, as these businesses are considered “life sustaining.”
There have also been fears of drug shortages, especially for medications that are made in China or have ingredients from China. As of the writing of this article, the FDA has reported only one drug that is facing shortages due to Coronavirus. The FDA did not name the drug, but stated that there are alternatives to this medication available. The agency is actively monitoring the supply of prescription medications and medical devices.
Related: What to Know About Coronavirus