Related story: Along the Coast: When home delivery of prescriptions is not what doctor ordered

Pros
• Possible savings. Your health plan might offer discounts for certain drugs by mail, often for a 90-day supply. Check to see how it compares with the co-pay at the pharmacy.
• Convenience. Skipping a trip to a pharmacy or clinic can save time and money. Among the most common prescriptions by mail are for chronic conditions like high cholesterol, acid reflux and thyroid issues.
• Privacy. Not running into a chatty neighbor at the pharmacy might be a plus if you don’t feel like discussing medical conditions or issues.

Cons
• Initial delays. It can take up to two weeks to receive a prescription by mail. If you need the medicine immediately, consider asking for two prescriptions. One can be filled right away at the pharmacy and the other can be by mail for the longer term.
• Delivery tangles. During the pandemic, consumers got used to having more things delivered. But the post office and delivery companies sometimes have run into staff shortages or budget constraints trying to meet that demand. The more important a medicine is to a patient’s day-to-day health, the more comfortable it might feel to know it can be filled at a pharmacy if there’s a glitch.
• Heat and other issues. Extreme temperatures in warehouses, trucks, stoops and mailboxes without air conditioning can leave consumers uneasy about whether drugs remain safe and effective.
• Difficulty keeping up with prescription renewals remotely. Sometimes the onus is on a mail-order customer to go online or call and request a periodic refill. A pharmacy provides a face-to-face way to sort that out, as well as to answer any medical questions.

Sources: Kaiser Family Foundation, Consumer Reports, goodrx.com

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