Costco.com, the online component of the warehouse giant, offers pharmacy services that are likely to be frequented by regular Costco customers but generally give the feeling of being an afterthought to the rest of the store. Services and information are adequate but don’t stand out.
The process for ordering a new prescription from Costco.com pharmacy is very similar to that of most other online pharmacies though likely a bit more streamlined than most. Registering an account is the initial step and is pretty straightforward. Once that’s done, just select new prescription, enter the prescribing physician's name, phone number, city and whether he’ll call in or fax the prescription or it will be mailed in. The frequently seen option of having the pharmacy contact the prescriber for authorization isn’t offered.
After that, only billing and shipping information are required. Either insurance or personal billing information are required as is a shipping address and desired shipping method. Standard shipping, which should arrive within 6-12 days is free and faster shipping is available for an additional charge. Rather surprisingly, there isn’t an option to pick up the medication at a Costco store.
Refilling an existing prescription is even simpler than ordering a new one. Once logged into the pharmacy customer account, just select the medication that is to be filled from the prescription history or enter the prescription number.
Costco.com pharmacy presents a different twist on prescription transfers than we’ve seen with any competitor. Typically, the reason for a transfer option is to transfer an existing prescription from a competitor which is a very easy and profitable proposition. Costco, on the other hand, only provides for transferring of prescriptions that have been previously filled at an in-store Costco pharmacy to their online pharmacy service. Only the prescription number is required to accomplish the transfer.
Costco.com offers the expected lineup of non-prescription remedies on their website under the health category rather than pharmacy. You’ll find a wide selection of over-the-counter medications as well as vitamin, mineral and herbal dietary supplements. There’s also an extensive selection of home health care equipment, medical monitors, mobility aids and first aid supplies.
Costco.com pharmacy’s website provides extensive information on prescription medications in the form of monographs. Medication specifics can be obtained by searching on the drug name or by using an alphabetically indexed list. The extensive health information features that we’ve come to expect from top rated pharmacies is notably absent on this site.
Ordering prescription medications from Costco.com pharmacy’s website is not very different from that of competitors but it is, by a small margin, among the easiest to use. Some common options such as in-store pick up and transferring prescriptions from other pharmacies aren’t available. The site doesn’t offer the automatic refill option that many others provide.
Costco.com pharmacy customer support is available via a toll-free telephone number as well as email. The website also has a rather rudimentary FAQ feature. Of course, customer service is also available from local stores which is likely the best option in most cases.
There’s no escaping the observation that the pharmacy at Costco.com seems to be little more than just another product category for the mass merchandiser. We’ve come to expect more in our objective review of pharmacy services.