Are Low-Cost Pharmacies Causing Pharmageddon?

| Written by Philip Lindeman MD-PhD

Pharmacist chemist woman standing refills

From a physician’s point of view, the arrival of cost-effective mail-order pharmacies is a welcome development. This option represents a significant transformation in how patients access their medications and promises to improve health outcomes.

Like many older Americans, I’m sad to see mom-and-pop pharmacies give way to national chains. However, even those traditional brick-and-mortar corner pharmacies are gradually diminishing in popularity as many patients opt for the convenience and cost-effectiveness of mail-order alternatives. For some time now, insurance providers have incentivized plan holders to take advantage of mail-order pharmacy services by providing discounts instead of obtaining prescriptions from local pharmacies.

Telemedicine gained substantial momentum during the pandemic. Patients can now remotely consult with healthcare professionals and have their prescriptions conveniently fulfilled through mail-order pharmacies. Regrettably, this has resulted in reduced foot traffic at mom-and-pop pharmacies nationwide. It appears that no retail business is immune to the effects of the changing retail landscape, including the pharmacy sector.

At PlanetDrugsDirect, we have provided mail-order services for over two decades, delivering substantial savings of up to 80% off retail prices in the United States. Even with the trend toward cost-effective medication distribution south of the border, American pharmacy chains find competing with our competitive pricing challenging.

This article will explore the evolving landscape of pharmacy services, shedding light on the advantages and disadvantages of this trend and examining how online pharmacy platforms are capitalizing on the surge in popularity of mail-order pharmacies.

Advantages of Mail-Order Pharmacies

Convenience and Cost Savings

Non-disabled individuals have no difficulty stopping by a pharmacy daily to pick up a prescription. It is far more difficult for older adults, individuals with disabilities, and those who live in rural areas to access medications. These patients can order medicines from the comfort of their homes and have them delivered to their doorstep. Mail-order pharmacies are accessible 24 hours per day, seven days per week, allowing patients to place orders conveniently.

It may be harmful to discontinue some medications when a prescription runs out. Many mail-order pharmacies offer automatic prescription refill services, ensuring patients do not run out of essential medicines. Mail-order pharmacies often have the resources to offer discounts and lower prices on prescription medications compared to traditional brick-and-mortar pharmacies.


Some patients appreciate the added privacy of ordering medications online, as it avoids the potential stigma of picking up specific prescriptions in person. For example, some men may not want to stand in line at a pharmacy to pick up their erectile dysfunction prescription, mainly if their neighbors are nearby. Even teenagers may experience embarrassment at picking up acne medications. Online delivery avoids these uncomfortable situations.

Larger Inventories

They may have a more comprehensive selection of medications, including generic alternatives, making it easier for patients to find the necessary medicines. As generics tend to cost less than brand-name medications, the more extensive inventories offered by online pharmacies add to the cost savings for the patient.

Elderly couple make online order and buy medication

Disadvantages of Mail-Order Pharmacies

Delayed Delivery

As we mentioned, many medications must be taken every day. At brick-and-mortar pharmacies, delays can occur because of shortages of drugs like Ozempic. Delayed delivery via international mail is possible, but PlanetDrugsDirect avoids delays by generating automated refill reminders. This feature allows patients to enjoy 80% cost savings while ensuring reliable delivery of their medications.

Limited In-Person Interaction

In brick-and-mortar pharmacies, there is that moment when the pharmacist asks the patient if they have any questions. PlanetDrugsDirect knows these interactions are valuable, so access to pharmacists is always available through the chat feature on the website. Unlike the local pharmacy, your access to a pharmacist is only a click away. This option offers an added layer of privacy that is not available when standing in a line at a pharmacy surrounded by your neighbors.

Insurance Coverage

Some insurance plans may not cover medications purchased through mail-order pharmacies or have specific requirements and restrictions. We expect the trend toward increased coverage will continue as remote medicine and online pharmacies gain acceptance.

Limited Over-the-Counter Products

Mail-order pharmacies primarily focus on prescription medications, so their selection of over-the-counter products may be more limited than traditional pharmacies. Fortunately, many over-the-counter products are available at PlanetDrugsDirect, adding considerable convenience to their clients.

Tired Pharmacist Waiting for the Client to Make the Purchase

Is This ‘Pharmageddon’?

It appears unlikely that the major pharmacy chains will disappear anytime soon. Many chains provide services that online resources cannot offer, such as urgent care services and vaccinations. As disruptive as online pharmacies have been to the pharmaceutical economy, they are not nearly as disruptive as pharmacy chains were to mom-and-pop pharmacies, which have virtually disappeared.

When considering using a mail-order pharmacy, it is essential that patients research and choose reputable providers, understand their insurance coverage, and consider their specific medication needs and preferences. Individuals with acute or complex medical conditions may benefit from maintaining a relationship with a local, in-person pharmacy for personalized care and immediate assistance. Consult a qualified medical professional with questions or concerns about accessing medications.

Rely on to Buy Prescription Discount Drugs Online

As a trusted prescription referral service, we offer important benefits whenever you order online. Each of our partner pharmacies and/or government-approved dispensaries is committed to providing the best experience possible of any online prescription referral service on the internet. We offer:

  • Low prices

  • Quick turn-around times

  • Generic and brand-name medications

  • Unparalleled customer service

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The content on this page is for informational and educational purposes only and does not constitute professional medical advice. Patients should not use the information presented on this page for diagnosing a health-related issue or disease. Before taking any medication or supplements, patients should always consult a physician or qualified healthcare professional for medical advice or information about whether a drug is safe, appropriate or effective.