August 10, 2018

Medicine Without Prescriptions

Purchasing medicines without prescriptions is still a thought that eludes most patients, especially those who are spending thousands of dollars on doctor visits alone. For most individuals without insurance or health care coverage, medicines and trips to the doctor are financially draining, hence their longing for purchasing more affordable medicines without prescriptions.

What is a Non-prescription drug?

Not all medicines require prescriptions. There are non-prescription drugs which are commonly known as over the counter (OTC) medicines, and as their name implies, these medicines may be purchased without the patients providing the prescriptions since these products do not have a potential for addiction or adverse side effects. Patients may get ahold of these medications by asking for them at their local drugstores.

Prescription products, on the other hand, are naturally riskier to take due to their active ingredients. These prescription products are only purchased when patients are able to provide the right prescriptions for these items. Patients need prescriptions for the Rx products because these medications have the following considerations:

  • Dose
  • Contraindications
  • Adverse effects
  • Drug interactions
  • Pregnancy safety

Although non-Rx medicines also have the aforementioned considerations, Rx medicines have more sensitive drug aspects. In some (or most) cases, taking the wrong dose of a prescription product or taking it with the wrong drugs can be a matter of life or death to a patient, unlike non-Rx medicines. If you take an extra tablet of ibuprofen for pain relief, it won’t probably matter, but if you take sildenafil citrate while on heart medicine or on hypertension medicines, you’re looking at a possible hypotension crisis or heart failure.

That being said, it patients should know better to respect the prescription statuses of the medicines they need—if a drug is Rx only, then it is only sensible to consult a doctor first before taking the product.

Can I Purchase Prescription Drugs Without Rx?

As mentioned earlier, patients can purchase over the counter medications without providing Rx, but patients need to provide prescriptions for their Rx medicines, 100% of the time. National and international pharmacy laws necessitate buyers to present their prescriptions before they are allowed to purchase the medicines they need. Even if patients can afford purchasing drugs without Rx, they need to provide proof that they are eligible to take the products so they can be assured of their safety while using the drugs.

However, despite the austere laws on prescriptions, some consumers are still looking for ways to go around these laws. Some buyers are still looking to get prescription drugs without prescriptions, even if they have to break the law or put their health on the line.

Unfortunately, buyers are unable to purchase medicines without Rx, especially at local drugstores. However, some patients are learning that they can make online purchases for the medicines they need and without sending Rx. There are illicit drugstores not requiring their clients to send in their Rx before they send the medicines, while some stores at least require the buyers to fill in a medical assessment form.

While these stores are seemingly helpful, there are considerable risks to dealing with these kinds of stores:

  • Buyers can receive fake medicines – Often, illegal online pharmacies are only bent on earning profits and don’t care if they send counterfeits to their consumers. Buyers may be sent placebo pills—this may not be a problem to patients suffering from hair loss, but this is a matter of life or death to patients controlling their blood pressure for stroke prevention.
  • Wrong medicines – While being sent ineffective pills is bad enough, in some cases, consumers may also be shipped the wrong medicines. Buyers are given pills without labels, which often complicate things—this puts the buyers at risk of taking medicines contraindicated to their medical conditions.
  • Medicines with hidden active ingredients – Illegal online pharmacies may claim to sell herbal treatments with hidden active ingredients. The FDA has conducted plenty of studies involving herbal medicines claiming to use “all natural” ingredients but end up having active ingredients that may interfere with a patient’s health.
  • Contaminated medicines – The FDA and some prestigious manufacturers have conducted studies on online-sold medications and their findings were disheartening—according to the studies, some medicines sold online and without Rx contain contaminants like boric acid, paint, ink, wood shavings, human hair, feces, bacteria, and other foreign materials which should be absent in medicines.

Besides these risks, patients are more likely to experience adverse effects due to wrong doses and wrong medicine use whenever purchasing medicines without prescriptions. Because of this, patients should resist the urge to order no-Rx medicines—this is not saying that buyers shouldn’t order their medicines online (there are reliable stores like the ones included on our list of TOP Vendors), but it’s a reminder for patients to only use medicines that are prescribed for them.

Can you Fill Prescriptions in Canada if you’re in the US?

You can only get your prescriptions filled locally. However, patients in the US are allowed to import medicines for personal use if they have the prescriptions to back up their medicine orders. Laws concerning the personal importation of medicines via online pharmacies are still confusing, but the point is, patients should have their Rx to order from legitimate online pharmacies, Canadian or not.


Patients should respect the distinction between prescription medicines and OTC products unless they want to deal with the health (and possibly legal) consequences of purchasing online Rx-only medicines without Rx. It is technically legal to use legit online pharmacies as long as you have the prescriptions for the meds you order, but it is important to consult lists of reliable drugstores (like our TOP Online Vendors list) to prevent suffering the consequences of purchasing fake medicines online.