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How To Transfer a Prescription to a New Pharmacy

What Does It Mean to Transfer a Prescription?

A prescription transfer is when you decide to move your prescriptions from one pharmacy to another. Simply put, it means you are switching to a new pharmacy. There are a number of reasons why you might decide to switch pharmacies. Maybe the new pharmacy has better prices, better service or offers more customer perks like free same-day delivery. No matter your reason, the process to transfer a prescription is straightforward and happens every day.   

How Do Prescriptions Work?

Before looking at how to transfer a prescription, it helps to first understand what a prescription actually is. Simply put, a prescription is just a written order from your doctor to the pharmacist.  This order includes the name of the medication, the required dosage and strength, the duration, the number of refills as well as the directions for taking or applying, etc. Each prescription is unique and only one pharmacy can have the prescription at any given time. A prescription can only come from a doctor, but any pharmacy can dispense the medication.

Doctors write prescriptions.

Pharmacies dispense medications.

 This might sound like semantics, but it is actually very important to understand. When your doctor sends a prescription to the pharmacy electronically, or if you bring a paper copy, the pharmacy creates a record that exists at that pharmacy until:

  1. The prescription expires i.e. You run out of refills and need to get a new prescription (order) from your doctor.
  2. You transfer the prescription to a new pharmacy i.e. You want to use a new pharmacy so you tell your existing pharmacy (where your prescription record is currently held) to send it to the new pharmacy.


How To Transfer a Prescription to a New Pharmacy

The process to transfer a prescription is pretty straightforward and your new pharmacy will be able to help. They will just need a couple pieces of information including:

  1. Your name, date of birth and any other information they need to identify you
  2. The name of the prescriptions you would like to transfer
  3. The pharmacy where you are filling the prescription currently

With this, your new pharmacy can request your prescription be transferred from your existing pharmacy. Pharmacies can only see the prescriptions you have filled with them – they do not have a record of prescriptions being filled at other pharmacies. So, in order to prevent potentially dangerous drug interactions, it is typically recommended you transfer all of your prescriptions rather than just one. This allows the pharmacist to holistically evaluate whether current and future medications they dispense are safe for the patient. You should always let your new pharmacy know about any medications you are taking.  

How Long Does a Prescription Transfer Take?

Once you have requested a transfer, it can take anywhere between a couple hours to a couple days for the prescription to be transferred. Most will be on the shorter side of this and almost all will happen within a day. If the process is taking a while or you want to speed it up for any reason, you can always call your old pharmacy personally. The pharmacy is legally required to comply if you request it.  Once you transfer a prescription to a new pharmacy, it will be dispensed at the next valid fill date.  

Can I Fill a Prescription at Any Pharmacy?

The short answer is yes, you can fill a prescription at any pharmacy. However, in some cases your health insurance plan and the medication you need will play a role. For example, some insurance plans have preferred pharmacies. That means they will incentivize or even restrict you to using those pharmacies if you are paying with insurance. Likewise, less frequently requested medications such as special cancer drugs may require a specialty pharmacy which your doctor can recommend. The easiest way to find out if a pharmacy can fill your prescription is to just call and ask.  

How to Transfer Your Prescriptions for Home Delivery

In the past few years, it has become much easier to transfer your prescription for home delivery. For example, here at NowRx Pharmacy, the process only takes a few minutes. All you need to do is fill out our online prescription transfer form and then one of our local pharmacists will reach out via phone to collect any additional information we need. Then, once we have gotten the prescription from your old pharmacy, we will deliver your medication same-day for no charge! If you like to learn more about prescription transfers or have questions about the prescription delivery process, just send us an email at and we will be happy to assist you!

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