That doesn’t mean that anything can be prescribed. Most telemedicine doctors will not prescribe drugs that require an in-person exam, including Viagra and sleep aids. The most common types of prescriptions telemedicine doctors can write include:
- Allergy medications
- Oral contraceptive
- Decongestant nasal sprays
- High blood pressure medications
- Cholesterol-lowering drugs
Ensuring a Purchase Is Legal
Be sure you can answer all these questions with a yes, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) requirements:
- Does the pharmacy ask for a prescription? As described above, you must supply a bona fide, doctor-signed prescription. A questionnaire is not good enough.
- Is the pharmacy licensed in the state in which it is located? Find your state’s Board of Pharmacy to determine its licensing. If it is not licensed there, or if you can’t find its location, then it may be offshore, located in another country.
- Do they offer an opportunity to have a phone conversation with a pharmacist? It’s not enough to have a toll-free number, you need to be able to speak to a pharmacist. Do not order a drug from an online drugstore until you have dialed that phone number and spoken to the pharmacist, even if you have to ask (what you consider) a lame question. The key is confirming there is a bona fide pharmacist on staff.
Once you are certain the pharmacy is legitimate and you have a valid prescription from your doctor, you can legally purchase drugs from an online pharmacy.
It’s illegal for Americans to order drugs from any pharmacy located outside the United States, including Canada or Mexico. This is a law imposed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In some circumstances, that law may be overlooked and not enforced.
The FDA rules for purchasing from foreign pharmacies specifies a drug may be exported into the United States if all three of the following conditions are met:
- The drug is not yet approved in the United States but is prescribed for a serious condition for which there is no equivalent at home.
- The amount imported is no more than a three-month supply.
- The drug is declared at U.S. Customs with the appropriate prescription and/or documentation.
According to the American Bar Association, the illegal import of a drug may be prosecuted as a misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year imprisonment and a $100,000 fine irrespective of whether you knew it was a crime.