Getting a prescription filled

Alternative Names

Prescriptions - how to fill; Medications - how to get prescription filled; Drugs - how to get prescription filled; Pharmacy - mail order; Pharmacy - internet; Types of pharmacies


Your health care provider may give you a prescription in different ways, including:

You also need to find out if your health plan will pay for the medicine your provider prescribed.

Once you get a prescription from your provider, you may buy the medicine in different ways.


The most common place for filling a prescription is at a local pharmacy. Some pharmacies are located inside of a grocery or large "chain" store.

It is best to fill all prescriptions with the same pharmacy. That way, the pharmacy has a record of all the medicines you are taking. This helps prevent drug interactions.

Your health plan may require you to use certain pharmacies. This means they may not pay for your prescription if you do not use one of these pharmacies. To find a pharmacy that takes your health plan:

To help the pharmacist fill the prescription:


Some people and insurance companies choose to use mail-order pharmacies.


Internet pharmacies can be used for long-term medicines and medical supplies.

References website. Getting prescription medications. Accessed November 1, 2021.

US Food and Drug Administration website. BeSafeRx: know your online pharmacy. Updated September 21, 2020. Accessed November 1, 2021.

US Food and Drug Administration website. Ensuring safe use of medicine. Updated September 12, 2016. Accessed November 1, 2021.

Review Date: 7/19/2021
Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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