Receiving your normal prescriptions does not constitute a medical emergency. However, prescriptions are “medical” and some may be life-threatening if you miss taking them. The good news is that today, getting your prescriptions filled while traveling is much easier than ever before.
Pharmacies are Connected
All major pharmacies and major chain-stores with pharmacies are connected within their respective major networks. For example, CVS pharmacies are all connected, Wal-Mart pharmacies are all connected, as well as others—however, independent pharmacies are typically not. Your doctor can fax or call in a new prescription (or refill) to their local store and you can pick it up with a very short wait at that same brand of pharmacy nationwide. The doctor must tell the pharmacy that they are not to fill the prescription until you call for it. The pharmacy receiving the call from the doctor may be in Ohio, so they would fill it and be waiting on you even though you may be traveling in Kansas.
Important Note: If you have a new, written prescription in hand, but your existing prescription is not yet due for a refill, you cannot get the new prescription of the same type filled—without special approval.
The common situation that causes this to happen is if you happen to spill or lose your pills. For example, in your RV, suppose you accidentally spill all your pills into the sink—filled with dishwater. So, you locate a local pharmacy, then call back to your doctor and explain you need replacement pills, and provide the doctor with the local pharmacy phone number. Next, the doctor calls in the prescription order to that pharmacy.
When you show up to pick up your prescription, the pharmacy will block the order from being filled—because their records or your insurance will indicate that you already have pills. It’s not time for another (overlapping) prescription!
You will have to get your insurance provider or prescription service to approve the new prescription. Only then will you receive your prescription. Note that this is not a question of who will pay but of overlapping prescriptions. Even though your doctor writes a new prescription, it does not automatically go through the system to be filled. Either the insurance will put a hold on the refill (due to overlapping prescriptions) or the pharmacy will stop it if you previously filled the prescription with any of their stores. This process is in place to prevent people from obtaining multiple prescriptions
for controlled substances.
Another situation where you may run across overlapping prescriptions is when planning to travel extensively out of the USA. For example, let’s assume your current prescription is not yet due for a refill but you are getting ready to leave the USA for some extended trip. You will need more pills (an additional prescription) before you go since you don’t have enough on hand to last until you return to the USA. However, it is not time for your refill. Let the pharmacist know about your trip and how long you plan to be out of the USA before they attempt to fill your prescription. It may help them to expedite approval and ultimately make your life a bit easier.