Can You Mail Prescription Drugs
It’s Monday morning and your wife is still sleeping soundly in bed next to you after an extra-long weekend of fun at the beach with friends and family. You’re thinking about how much you’d like to get her some nice sunblock for this year’s vacation, but unfortunately you don’t have time to drive all the way down to Target this morning before work because you’ve already overslept. So what do you do? Do you wake up your wife, go back into their bedroom and look for something else on sale online? Or do you simply put sunscreen over one ear while you continue snoozing away? If you choose option number two then you may be surprised when someone comes knocking on your door later asking where your wife is. And it isn’t just your wife who will be confused by your choice — anyone standing outside your front door might find themselves wondering why a person would oversleep so early in the morning on a weekday.
If you answered “yes” to either of these questions then you’ll want to read on. The good news is that there is a solution to both of these problems. There are many people who need prescription medications every day, but often times those same people aren’t able to obtain the prescriptions they need due to the cost and/or the hassle involved in getting to a pharmacy. Luckily, there is currently a program underway within the United States Postal Service (USPS) called PODS – which stands for Prescriptions On Delivery System. What does this mean exactly? It means that if you happen to live near a local post office then you could potentially walk right up to the counter and hand your doctor’s letter to the postal worker. This postal worker would then take the letter directly to the nearest pharmacy and fill the order. In other words, the system is designed specifically to help patients obtain their prescriptions more efficiently and conveniently.
The US Post Office has been running this service since 2010, and as of 2012 there were approximately 2,000 pharmacies participating across the country. But even if you live far from a PODS station, you may still be eligible for the service. To see if you qualify, head on over to usps.com/pods. From there you’ll be presented with a list of pharmacies that are actively offering the services. If you decide that you’d like to participate in the program you can register with the site using your email address, birthday, gender, zip code and phone number. Once registered you’ll be provided with a unique PIN number that allows you to place orders through the website. Now you know everything you need to know about the PODS program. Let’s talk about how exactly you can use this service to your advantage.
First things first, you should know that you are not allowed to send prescription medications via the USPS unless you are a licensed health care professional or a pharmacist. If you are neither of these things then you won’t be given access to the PODS program by the USPS. However, if you fall under either category then you are free to check out the PODS website. Here you can browse different states’ lists of pharmacies offering the service. You can also request information about specific pharmacies near you. After requesting information about a certain pharmacy you can schedule a pickup appointment to meet with its staff, discuss the available options and place your order. You can also sign up for text message reminders about ordering shipments via PODS.
When placing an order you’ll need to select whether you are sending an emergency shipment or a non-emergency shipment. An emergency shipment must be shipped immediately, whereas non-emergency shipments can wait until the following business day. For example, if you had surgery recently you might want to ship an emergency medication package straightaway to make sure you receive whatever you need in a timely manner. Non-emergency packages allow you to give yourself plenty of time to recover from surgery and recuperate before receiving your medications. Of course, you always have the option to skip the scheduling step and place an order straightaway as well. When making a purchase via PODS you’ll have the option to pay with credit card or cash.
Once your order is ready to pick up you’ll be asked to provide several pieces of identification. These can include a driver’s license, passport, military ID, insurance policy or current employment documentation. Finally, to ensure accuracy during checkout you’ll be asked to verify your identity by providing additional documents. Keep in mind that no personal details including addresses or social security numbers are required in order to complete an order.
While the PODS program has been around for quite awhile now, there are still some obstacles left that need to be overcome before the process becomes completely seamless. One issue that needs to be addressed is the fact that each state seems to run the program differently. Some states require that you call a toll-free number to place an order, while others allow you to click a button on the PODS website to submit an order. Also, the amount of money you pay for shipping varies greatly depending on the type of order you placed. Emergency shipments are usually priced based on weight, volume and size, while non-emergency shipments are priced based on weight. Lastly, you can expect the delivery timeframe to vary depending on your location. While most places will deliver your order within three days of submitting it, sometimes it can take longer than that.
So yes, you can mail prescription drugs via the USPS if you are a pharmacist or medical provider mailing such drugs to the patient they have been prescribed to. But keep in mind that the USPS doesn’t offer this service for everyone — it requires that you fit a few criteria first. If you ever have trouble finding a PODS pharmacy near you, don’t hesitate to contact your doctor’s office directly. They can likely refer you to the closest PODS pharmacy. Plus, if you live close enough then walking to the pharmacy shouldn’t pose too big of a problem!
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