Birth Control Prescriptions Online: Is It Possible?

You may be able to get birth control pills online. (Learn More)

Whether they are obtained online or not, the price of birth control pills is generally affordable, especially if you have insurance. (Learn More)

In some states, you may be able to get a prescription from a licensed physician or other licensed health care professional for birth control pills online. (Learn More) However, there are a number of different scenarios that make it advantageous for you to see a doctor in person for an evaluation. (Learn More)

Buy prescription medications from online pharmacies with caution. (Learn More) There are some steps you should take to avoid getting counterfeit medications or a potentially harmful substance. (Learn More)

You may qualify for free birth control purchased online if you have insurance under the Affordable Care Act, but there may be limitations. (Learn More)

Getting Birth Control Pills Online

Birth control pills are relatively easy to get, even online, but these pills do require a prescription. Buying birth control products online is relatively safe, but you should follow some precautions.

Other forms of birth control may not be readily available online. Various types of birth control require an in-person evaluation from a physician or other licensed medical health care provider.

The Price of Birth Control Pills

For most brands of birth control pills, a month’s supply will cost up to around $50.

With some health insurance plans, birth control may not cost you anything. If you qualify for certain governmental programs like Medicaid, you can get birth control pills for free (see below).

You will need an evaluation from a doctor (or nurse) in order to get a prescription for birth control pills or other birth control products. The cost of the consultation can be variable. Depending on your insurance coverage, it may cost you nothing, or it could run into the hundreds of dollars.

woman chatting to elderly lady over webcam

Can I Get a Prescription for Birth Control Online?

Laws concerning the limits of telemedicine — having medical examinations and prescriptions filled online — vary from state to state. You may or may not be able to get a prescription for a prescription medication online, depending on your state.

Initially, a physician needs to write you a prescription for birth control pills, but whether you can get a prescription for birth control online depends on your state. This makes online accessible birth control limited for some people.

Check with your state regarding the limits of telemedicine in your area, as these regulations are often changing. Some states may allow a pharmacist to write a prescription.

Even if you can get a prescription for birth control online through a state-certified telemedicine doctor, you are most likely going to be limited to getting a prescription for the pill. Other forms of birth control, such as an IUD or birth control injection, require an in-person examination.

When to See a Doctor in Person

If you have a complex medical history (one or more severe medical conditions) or you have certain types of disorders, you will probably be better off seeing a doctor in person to get a prescription for birth control pills.

Side effect profiles of birth control pills are typically mild, but if you have certain conditions like metabolic imbalances, migraine headaches, a history of high blood pressure or blood clots, allergic reactions, and others, you will most likely be required to have an in-person examination before any physician will write you a prescription.

Drugs or products approval concept. Rubber stamp with the text FDA approved over white background. 3D illustration

Be Careful About Getting Online Prescriptions

You should never purchase a prescription medication or medical device from a source that does not require you to present a valid prescription for it. You may be getting a medication that contains substances that are harmful to you, or you may receive pills that contain no medication at all.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) provides guidelines to help you spot illegitimate online pharmacies.

  • Pharmacies should be licensed by the state board of pharmacy where they sell prescription medications.
  • The pharmacy should require you to present a valid prescription from a physician, pharmacist, or nurse in order to buy a prescription birth control product.
  • The pharmacy should be located in the United States with a pharmacist who is licensed to practice in the United States.
  • Verification by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) is also recommended.

How to Protect Yourself

You need to protect yourself. If an online pharmacy engages in any of the following practices, you should be suspicious:

  • Allows you to purchase any prescription medication without presenting a valid prescription from a physician or other similar professional health care provider, like a nurse practitioner or license pharmacist
  • Sends spam emails that offer extremely cheap prices on medications
  • Has an address outside the United States or claims to ship medications anywhere in the world
  • Tries to sell you alternative types of remedies for conditions that require prescription medications

Be wary of any foreign pharmacy that attempts to sell you prescription medications, even pharmacies located in Canada. Use the above steps as guidelines to eliminate certain online sources that may sell you counterfeit birth control pills.

Follow the instructions of the FDA. If you have any questions, contact the FDA or NABP.

Getting Free Birth Control

Under the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, many insurance providers have plans that fully cover many methods of birth control, including birth control pills.

Your plan may or may not cover the cost of the evaluation for a prescription if the evaluation is performed online. Moreover, your plan may only cover the total cost of certain types of birth control pills.

Check with your insurance provider to learn how your policy covers birth control products and online evaluations. Your policy may not cover birth control products that are sold online with a prescription from a telemedicine physician.

Confirm your coverage before you order birth control pills online.

References

Medicaid Home. Medicaid.gov.

Birth Control Pills From Your Phone! (2019). Planned Parenthood.

Telemedicine Policies: Board by Board Overview. Federation of State Medical Boards.

How to Buy Medicines Safely From an Online Pharmacy. (January 2018). Food and Drug Administration.

Birth Control Benefits. Healthcare.gov

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