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Coronavirus

How to get your pharmaceutical drugs if you can’t go to the pharmacy

You already know how important it is to stay at home as much as possible — unless, of course, you need to restock on food and essentials.

Venturing outside for any reason still puts you at risk for viral exposure, though. The grocery store is no exception. Fortunately, most stores are taking additional measures to help you shop while maintaining social distancing. Tap or click here to see the safest ways to buy and unpack your groceries.

What happens, then, when you need to visit the pharmacy? There’s bound to be more sick people at the drugstore than the supermarket, so how can you get the medicine you need without leaving home? We’ll show you how you can have your prescriptions delivered safely to your doorstep.

Big names, big changes

Several of the biggest names in the pharmacy game are doing their part to help customers stay at home during COVID-19. They’re adjusting their shipping options or working with delivery partners like Postmates and Instacart to get you essentials and medicine without leaving the safety of home.

Each pharmacy has different policies in place during COVID-19, and not all of them offer the same benefits. Gather your prescription information before getting started, and check with your insurance company to see if it has a preferred mail-order prescription provider or any other rules you need to know.

Walgreens

Walgreens has made a major adjustment — waiving delivery fees for eligible prescriptions. You can place an order online or by phone for the medicine you need and have it arrive on your doorstep at no extra cost.

Related: Tap or click here to see 3 ways you can save money on prescriptions

This also extends to regular items ordered from the store, including basic supplies and over-the-counter medicine. If you need a box of Tums to go with all the canned beans you’ve been eating, Walgreens has you covered.

To get started, place your order online through Walgreens.com or the Walgreens app. When the time comes to check out, choose between express delivery and standard, expedited or overnight online shipping.

Delivery through Walgreens Express is free, and you can get your medicine as soon as the next day. If you use this, make sure to sign up for prescription text alerts and select “Deliver when the prescription is ready.”

Not all Walgreens locations offer express delivery, though standard delivery is available nationwide. Shipping is also free, but the window for delivery is five to 10 days. If you choose this option, place your order well in advance to account for the delay. Otherwise, choose expedited or overnight shipping, which will set you back $12.95 or $19.95, respectively. Expedited shipping takes about two business days, and overnight arrives the next business day. Simply pick “Ship to you” during checkout to select either option.

If you’re not ordering prescriptions online, you’re still in luck: Walgreens has teamed up with delivery app Postmates and expanded on-demand delivery to serve 7,000 stores nationwide. Just visit Postmates.com or download the Postmates app for Android or iOS to order the OTC medicines or household goods you need.

A Postmates Unlimited subscription costs $9.99 per month. It’s a good option if you’re in an area where express delivery is unavailable.

CVS Pharmacy (and Target, too)

CVS Pharmacy is the largest drugstore chain in the country, with nearly 10,000 locations. Just like Walgreens, CVS is waiving delivery charges for prescription medications and select home essentials.

Related: Use this site to find out if the supplies you need are in stock

To access delivery options, download the CVS app for Android or iOS, or text “Join” to CVS-TXT (287-898) to sign up for text alerts. When your order is ready for pickup, you’ll get a notification, and you can then choose from free one-day, two-day or even same-day delivery through the service Shipt.

And if you get your prescriptions from Target, don’t worry: It’s under the CVS umbrella. The same rules apply, except you’ll need to enter your local Target’s address instead.

Rite Aid

Rite Aid has joined the “free delivery club,” too, by waiving fees for eligible prescriptions. The exact rules vary depending upon location, so contact your local Rite Aid for more details.

Walmart

Unlike standalone drugstores, Walmart locations with in-store pharmacies don’t offer home delivery. But online orders are another story altogether, and you can have your meds delivered to your doorstep — with free shipping to boot.

There is a catch, though: With logistics snarled around the country, delivery times can vary widely.

Related: Tap or click here to see the new operating hours of your favorite retail stores.

Walmart estimates between a week and 10 business days for most orders, so plan your order around the delays so you don’t get caught flat-footed.

Costco

For online deliveries, Costco can take even longer. Some locations have partnered with Instacart to make home delivery possible. To speed up your order, call your local Costco store to see if it’s participating in this program.

A word before you order …

No two prescriptions are exactly alike, and some controlled substances may not be eligible for at-home delivery. The same goes for some medications that require refrigeration or expire easily.

In these cases, call your pharmacy or store to see if they offer curbside pickup. This will allow you to get your supplies without breaking social-distancing rules or putting yourself at risk. You should still wear gloves to receive your delivery, and make sure to thoroughly wash your hands once you get home. Toss the packaging and wipe down your containers before bringing them inside, too.

Remember, the less you put yourself in harm’s way, the better. We recommend getting 90-day supply of all your medications if you can. Tap or click here for the CDC’s recommendation.

There’s a reason drugstores are considered essential during this pandemic. And thankfully, the owners of these chains realize the importance of providing people medicine without making the outbreak worse or harming themselves. It just goes to show you how valuable flattening the curve is to fighting and defeating COVID-19 for good.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have regarding a medical condition, advice, or health objectives.

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