Traveling has ramped back up following the COVID-19 pandemic. There is so much to remember to pack when you travel, but what should you do if you forget, or don’t bring enough of, your prescription medications while traveling?
How do I get my medication filled?
There are a few options that may help in a situation where you’ve forgotten your prescription medications. The example scenarios described here are for non-controlled substances. It may be a bit more difficult to obtain your medications if they are controlled substances (such as oxycodone, alprazolam, etc.), but you could still try these suggestions.
The easiest scenario would be if you already fill your prescriptions at a national chain pharmacy such as Walgreens, Walmart, or CVS. In this case, you can go to a local location, and it is easy for them to “pull” your prescription from another store and fill it at their pharmacy location. However, you may run into a more complicated scenario if you fill your prescriptions at a smaller, local pharmacy for instance.
If you fill your prescriptions anywhere but a chain pharmacy, there still are a couple options. One option is to contact your doctor’s office and ask them to submit a new prescription to the pharmacy nearest to you. Certainly, you’ll need to explain the situation to the doctor’s office for them to help. Another option is to go to (or call) the pharmacy nearest to you and ask them to transfer your prescription from your hometown pharmacy. This second option only works if you have available refills on the prescription at your hometown pharmacy. It also would require you to transfer your prescription back to your regular pharmacy once you return home.
There are also limitations with this scenario if your medication is a controlled substance. Though some rules may vary from state to state, in general, the following rules apply. If your medication is a CII controlled substance (exs. Oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, Adderall, etc.), it cannot be transferred, and you would need a new prescription from your doctor regardless. If your prescription is a CII through CIV controlled substance, it may only be transferred one time, ever. For example, if you have multiple refills available on your prescription for alprazolam (Xanax) and you transfer it to the pharmacy in your vacation destination, you are unable to transfer it back to your hometown pharmacy afterward. You would need a new prescription from your healthcare provider when you return home. These options are applicable in the United States. If you are in a different country, you may be able to obtain your medication over-the-counter without a prescription. Make sure you get the correct medication (or equivalent medication) and the correct dose.
Will it cost me a lot of money?
Unfortunately, in most scenarios, it is likely that your prescription insurance will not want to pay for your prescription again if it is too soon to refill. However, in some cases, your insurance may allow for a “vacation override” to cover the prescription. You’ll need to work with the pharmacy team to see if this is an option for you. If not, you may end up needing to pay cash or use a coupon (such as Easy Drug Card) to reduce the cash price. You don’t have to refill an entire month’s worth if you don’t need to. You can fill just enough to get you by for the rest of your trip if you need to. If there is a Walmart pharmacy near to you, they generally hold the best prices. This is especially true if your medication is on their “Four-dollar list” (see resource 1). On the Easydrugcard.com website, you can easily compare prices at different pharmacies.
If you need to pay cash for your prescription due to insurance limitations, check your medication on Easy Drug Card. There are cost savings available! It can become complex to forget your medication on vacation. However, if you work with your health care provider’s office and/or the local pharmacy (be sure to treat them with kindness – it helps!), you can get your medications and get back to vacation!
Disclaimer: This blog is written for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read or seen online.