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A Complete Guide to Mail Order Prescriptions

A Complete Guide to Mail Order Prescriptions

Today, everything is about convenience. With the growing popularity of online shopping, many retailers have started to offer delivery services, including pharmacies.

Gone are the days of standing in line and waiting for your meds. Mail-order prescriptions have taken convenience to the next level. For many patients, such as those who are housebound, immunocompromised, very busy, or otherwise unable to visit a pharmacy regularly, this is an ideal solution for receiving medication.

If you’re new to getting prescriptions in the mail and don’t know what to expect or have concerns about safety and security, this guide has the answers. Keep reading to learn more.

What Is a Mail Order Pharmacy?

A mail-order pharmacy delivers meds right to your door. 

With a traditional drugstore, a medical professional calls in the prescription to your local pharmacy or writes out a paper prescription. Then, the responsibility is on you to visit the pharmacy and get your prescription filled. 

Once the pharmacy has received your prescription, you wait while the pharmacy team fills the prescription, runs the transaction through your insurance carrier, and then gives you your medication. This process can take anywhere from a few minutes to a day or more, depending on the pharmacy. 

On the other hand, prescriptions for mail-order medications are sent to the mail-order pharmacy by your healthcare professional. Your prescription is filled, run through your insurance provider, and then mailed or delivered directly to your doorstep.

The Benefits of Using Mail Order Prescriptions Services

There are several advantages to ordering mail-order medications. Here are a few of them:

More Affordable

This surprises a lot of people, but mail-order medications are often less expensive than buying from a traditional drug store. 

Many mail-order pharmacies work through an insurance plan or a medical facility. It allows the healthcare provider to purchase medications in large bulk quantities directly from the prescription drug manufacturer.

In most cases, these savings are passed on to you, the consumer. As a result, the cost is more affordable for both the provider and patients. 

90 Day Supply

Mail-order prescriptions often come with a 90-day supply. 

Not only are 3-month supplies more affordable, but much more convenient as well. Getting a 90-day supply means that you won’t have to fill the prescription as often, which saves time and ensures that you have the medication you need for an extended period of time.


Unlike traditional pharmacies, mail-order drug stores offer customer service with extended business hours either by telephone, email, or website chat functions. 

This accessibility is useful for patients who have questions about their prescriptions outside of business hours and helps ensure more equitable access to healthcare. Regular pharmacies usually close at a certain time or are not open on weekends, which can be a hassle for customers who do shift work, work long or irregular hours, don’t live near a pharmacy, or have access to transportation.


Getting a prescription in the mail isn’t just convenient. For those who are seriously ill, badly injured, or otherwise unable to drive, mail-order prescriptions can be an essential lifeline to better health.

For patients who are contagious, not having to walk into a pharmacy helps keep staff and other customers safe and allows the ill patient more time to recover peacefully. 

Even for those who can still drive and who won’t make others sick, not having to drive to the pharmacy, find parking, and wait in line at a drug store is much more convenient. 

Are Some Medications Prohibited Through Mail Order?

Most medications are available through mail order. 

For instance, CityHealth Urgent Care has partnered with Alto Pharmacy, a full-service drugstore. Alto’s well-stocked inventory ensures CityHealth patients can access the medications they need when they need them. 

Alto also has a wide selection of specialty drugs, brand name and generic medications, and over the counter meds as well.

How to Switch to Mail Order

Switching to mail order is easy. 

Simply ask your healthcare provider to submit your prescription to the mail-order pharmacy.  If your prescription is at your local drugstore, you can have them transfer it for you or request the transfer yourself from the mail-order pharmacy’s website.

Is Mail Order Right For You?

As you can probably see, mail order medication services offer tremendous value and convenience. But are they right for you?

 The truth is, as incredible as it is to get meds delivered to your home, if you have a complicated condition or take life-saving medication, it may not be best for you.

If you have a serious condition that requires a strict regime of medications, it might be safer to continue using a standard pharmacy. Sometimes, mail gets delayed, or packages are lost or damaged in transit. If you’re waiting for crucial medication to arrive and you’re out of supply, that could pose a serious issue.

Mail Order Prescription Services: Are They Safe?

Mail-order prescriptions have become increasingly popular in recent years and skyrocketed in popularity during the COVID pandemic. Most insurance companies and medical facilities have started to provide mail-order prescription services as a standard practice. 

Unlike some internet pharmacies, mail order drug stores provided through your healthcare network are trustworthy. 

The only drawback that some people experience with getting prescriptions in the mail is that the medication may sit in a hot environment (like the back of a USPS van) before getting delivered. 

However, with a drugstore like Alto Pharmacy, same-day delivery is available. When you come into CityHealth Urgent Care, the prescription is sent over, and you’ll have your medication in no time.

Ultra Convenience: A Virtual Visit and Mail Order Prescriptions

If you’re looking for an urgent care center that offers mail-order prescriptions, we can help. 

At CityHealth Urgent Care, we are the pioneers of convenient health care in the San Francisco Bay area. From our virtual visits to our fully equipped on-site lab and imaging center, we redefine what it means to get better. 

Prescriptions can be sent electronically to the pharmacy of your choice. We can also have medications delivered within a few hours through our partnership with Alto Pharmacy.

If you have any questions for us, call 510-984-2489 or book an appointment online

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