|Prescription & Over-the-Counter Drugs|
Prescription & Over-the-Counter Drugs
|If you'd like an update on the 22 online drugstores we
recommended in our book The Best of Online Shopping, here's
their medical chart. You'll find full details about each store in our book; this report
focuses on how the stores are changing. Most were improving, but a few, we have to
report, were on the decline.
If you haven't read our book, you'll get a sense of the way the drugstore business is changing, as you browse our report, and you may spot some stores you'd like to visit.
And if you have news to report on any of the sites in our book, or discoveries we
should know about, please email us at ThePrices@swcp.com.
"They now offer customized packaging, so you can get child-proof caps or not,
air-tight foil packages with 30, 60, or 90-day supplies, and combo-packs that put together
everything you are supposed to take in the morning, and all the afternoon meds in another
package, so you don't overlook one."S.K., Minneapolis, MN
"I really enjoyed their logo. It shows an angel and an American flag. This is a group of Christian natural health professionals, under the guidance of the herbalist Truman Berst, so the selection reflects American traditions more than Asian or European ones, and many blends are Truman's own. Thats why you get formulas more often than individual herbs, oils, or tinctures."S.H., New York, NY
We like their guarantee--the "iron-clad bend-over-backward guarantee." You get a 2% discount if you order on the Web, 1% on fax and mail orders, even though they accept phone orders as well at 1800 345 4152.
Caution: Not every entry in their database of conditions is working.
"They now emphasize fen phen (a bit dangerous, no?) for weight loss, Viagra alternatives, and a trade secret formula for reducing cellulite."B.N., Providence, R.I.
We are downgrading our evaluation from Best to OK. Another problem: Their database does not cover a wide enough range of symptoms and products, but instead concentrates on common ailments such as colds and flus. For instance, if you ask for ointments for burns, you only hear about products that burn off your body fat. Hmmm.
ChemistNet says: "Our staff is experienced in storing, preparing, compounding and dispensing prescriptions. As well as first-aid, home health care and durable medical equipment. We also specialize but are not limited to diabetic, hypertensive counseling and herbal / homeopathic solutions to name a few."
"They have very thorough updates on new drugs."J.L., Ukiah, CA
Worth a visit: They offer The HIV/HCV Co-Infection Handbook for free, as a download, as well as a free subscription to their quarterly newsletter on new treatments. This is a national store owned and operated by HIV positive folks, in the battle against AIDS.
You can now use one of over 35,000 network pharmacies nationwide to pick up medications ordered over the Web (if you need them within a few hours), or have the medications shipped to your door. Cash customers get a guaranteed low price. Nice touch: For those with insurance, CPS finances the medication and files the insurance forms.
Our eleven-year-old son recently got a terrible sunburn--blisters over his shoulders and arms, and agony from the first night. But aloe vera juice, straight from the cut leaf, along with Vitamin E oils, reduced the healing time from the doctor's estimate of three weeks to one week. His skin completely healed.
We're committed to what this company calls Dr. Aloe. Their picture of the good doctor looks a little scary (with a plant growing out of a lab coat), but their site offers a great range of aloe products. Since our last visit, we see that Mr. C. Ray Henry (whose initials are in the site name) has added whole Aloe Vera Barbadensis plants for sale. Good idea.
The site must be doing well; they have just incorporated, and are preparing for an Initial Public Offering.
We like the way that Dr. Carr collects your personal health history, along with any current problems, and uses that, along with his database of guidelines, and online physicians, to come up with recommendations, immunization alerts, and tailored fitness programs. Dr. Carr insists you get any new prescriptions from your regular doctor, who can phone them in.
"Good links to related health sites, as well as insurance companies. They also offer online consultations."M.C. Lakeville, CT
The Drug Emporium has a new look, and we guess a lot of it stems from their shift to a database from Oracle. This company started with almost 200 physical stores, and put their inventory up online, with some 40,000 items for sale, with pretty good discounts on a wide range of well-known brands.
If you know the product you want, or have a good idea, you can spot the item in these long lists. But the effect of the site is more database than store, with few pictures, and meager descriptions of individual products. If you have a favorite product you buy in bulk, though, this might be the right place to go.
Please allow 10 to 14 days from when you mail in your order for delivery.
If your insurance covers prescriptions, this site is great, because once you have met your deductible, the site pays the "co-payment" for you, files the insurance paperwork, and ships the prescription to you for free. They get big volumes, and you get a real bargain.
New: Cosamin CS to build cartilage for arthritis sufferers (90 pills for $54.95), and Viagra via prescription for, well, you know... (10 pills for $105.09).
Note: Drugs by Mail is owned by Uptown Pharmacy, in Phoenix AZ, which also runs a mirror site called PharmacyStore, at http://pharmacystore.com (same look and feel, just different addresses).
They say: "We at Drugs By Mail are interested in providing the highest quality mail order pharmacy service for those people with long-term prescription drug requirements. For this reason we developed the "Rational Relief" program that offers prescription drugs at no cost beyond what your insurance company pays by providing direct insurance billing and accepting insurance company reimbursement as "full payment" for your prescriptions. That means you do not have to pay the usual 20% that most insurance companies require because we absorb those costs for you."
Extra: If you live in the Phoenix Metro area, you can get same-day delivery! Ground delivery in the U.S. is free.
Now teaming up with Rite-Aid, Drugstore.com is offering home delivery to the millions of people on PCS, the prescription insurance offered by this drugstore chain. You can order refills over the Web, and pick them up at a local Rite Aid store if you need them within a few hours.
This is truly a drug mega-store, because in addition to a pharmacy, it has all the health, beauty, and personal care products you expect to get at a large drugstore. Current specials we like: pillows that prevent dust mites from collecting, so kids don't get allergic reactions; the skincare analysis, for cleansers, toners, and moisturizers, and a free bath bar with a body wash. (If you like to save money, check out there 99 cent specialswow, shaving cream for less than a buck!)
Bright and colorful, with good pictures and product descriptions, plus links to related products, so you can compare, and pick the one that's best for you.
Serious specials, like test strips to detect blood in the urine, or HIV infection; personal lubricant and fertility monitors, as well as anti-dandruff shampoo.
"Good links for information on cancer, HIV and AIDS, drug abuse, poison control, and women's health."H.G, Hilo, HI
24 hour delivery is now available, for both prescriptions and over-the-counter products. "Order from your bed!" This site focuses on prescriptions, but they have recently added links to pages dealing with PMS, menopause, hormonal imbalances, and digestive problems.
Caution: Some of these pages exist on other sites, so you may zip out there, and have trouble getting back, even with the Back button.
Downgraded from Best to OK because the Web site has not received much attention over the last year or so, and compared to newer, more energetic sites, they have only an average selection of vitamin and mineral supplements, diet supplements, herbal extracts, and herbal teas, mostly under the brand name 21st Century.
If you go there, consult Vita-Aid, which lists symptoms, and remedies. Each product gets a list of contents, usage advice, and a brief hint of the purpose.
This store is now recommended by the Arthritis Foundation, for its special books and products for sufferers.
Caution: The site has recently been refurbished, and now claims to offer More Info about a lot of products, but that info does not yet exist. You just go to another page that repeats what you heard before. Perhaps they intend to add more details later.
Note: The attractive and extensive MediStore has been relocated as part of a makeover. To find it now, go to http://www.mediconsult.com and choose The Medistore.
Its easy to confuse this site with the Medquest Pharmacy. MediQuest (note the extra i) is not really an online pharmacy. Rather, this is a brochure for, and a way to apply for hormone treatments.
Set up by the Palm Springs Life Extension Institute, run by Drs.
Edmund Chein and Daniel Vogt, this site advocates total hormone replacement, plugs a book
and some reports, and gives you a form to fill out (you have to get a blood sample and
send it to them), to see if the good doctors think you should participate in their
Unlike their name-alike, MediQuest, this pharmacy really offers a wide range of products, focusing on hormone replacement (like their twin), but extending to vitamins, anti-oxidants, mood-altering herbs, and skin care.
New section: Insect repellent, supplements, and shampoos for your pet.
Their top sellers include the home-run-hitting supplement, Androstenedione (100 100mg capsules for $24.95), a pituitary jumpstarter for rejuvenation (30 packets for $34.95), and a sex hormone that, they claim, helps lower blood cholesterol, strengthens bones, and improves memory (DHEA, 50 mg tablets, in a bottle of 100 for $22.95).
You can also fill regular prescriptions here, and they promise to ship them out within 24 hours.
New name and expansion: Green Tree has been absorbed into More.com, as a natural health boutique within a much larger store handling health and nutrition products of all kinds, and the discounts look better than ever.
Nice touch: You can create a shopping list for each person in your family, or different events, so you can order all that stuff at once.
"How can you dislike a site where the buttons look as if they have been carved out of wood, and one takes you to God?" G.G, Orlando, FL
This non-denominational site puts together ideas from Judaism, Christianity, and Hinduism; news from Excite; free nutritional analysis. Good for dieters, herbal medicine, aromatherapy, bath and body products, and sports nutrition.
New: the SmartSelect Analysis from Acumin.
News Corp, which is launching a TV network devoted to health, has just invested in Planet Rx, a bright store crowded with prescription and non-prescription drugs, personal care items, beauty items, vitamins, and purely medical supplies.
New specials are hot pairs: you buy one product , such as Oil of Olay Daily UV Cream, and get another free, such as the Oil of Olay Eyeliner, Espresso. On some specials you even are allowed to specify the color of your eyebrows, eyelashes, cheeks, lips, or whatnot, so you get the right color product.
Earn frequent flyer miles with purchases. Fill, refill, or transfer prescriptions in any state, with free shipping.
Downgraded from Best to OK.
Alas, though Pro Mark Pharmacies still offers medical aids, home health care products, breast prostheses, and kidney care items, you have to phone or email the store to place an order. You cannot browse through a catalog online, and, disappointingly, you cannot now order online from a secure server.
We'd say their appeal has to be limited to folks with special needs, particularly near their brick-and-mortar operation in San Antonio, Texas.
Now known as Drugplace. Used to be known as Trinity RX (that's how we described it in our book). Same URL as before.
We must also downgrade this pharmacy from Best to OK as an online shop, because although it still offers quotes on medications via email, with discounts up to 75% on brand-name items (through volume purchases of generic equivalents), they do not provide real Web ordering via a secure server.
Especially bad news: They actually ask for a credit card number via email. This is a definite no-no because email is not as protected as a phone call, and nowhere near as safe as a secure server. Better to phone them at 800-881-6325, and order the old-fashioned way.
We must downgrade our evaluation from Best to OK: Unfortunately, Wal-Mart has once again postponed putting up an online order form. You have to order via Email, phone, or letter. After that, you can have the prescription shipped directly to you, leaving their pharmacy within 24 hours, with free delivery by Ground (overnight delivery costs more).
Wed say Wal-Mart is still half-hearted about going on the Web, despite their enormous Web store, of which the pharmacy is just a little booth. We think Sam Walton, their founder, would have been braver than current management, less fearful of reducing sales in the physical stores. What do you think?
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