Retail Pharmacy vs. Home Delivery vs. Mail Order Pharmacy

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Difference between Retail Pharmacy, Home Delivery and Mail Order Pharmacy

Getting the medications that you need is remarkably easy nowadays compared to only a few years ago. While the only option for doing so previously was to actually go down to the local pharmacy and to pick up what you need, the advent of home delivery and mail order services for pharmaceuticals has made our lives so much easier.

Retail Pharmacy
Mail Order Pharmacy


A traditional retail pharmacy offers a wide variety of prescription and non-prescription medications, along with a host of other health related products. In addition, retail pharmacies may also carry products that are not related to health or fitness.

Home delivery is a service introduced by some pharmacies, in which purchases are delivered to the home of the customer. This service may be free, or there may be a nominal charge involved.

A mail order pharmacy is probably the most convenient of the three, since the merchandise will be delivered directly to the home of the buyer via mail or courier service.


The process of purchasing medications from a retail pharmacy is pretty straightforward. All you have to do is drop in with a prescription from your physician and you can be on your way within minutes or the next day. If it is a non-prescription or over-the-counter medication you want, then the process is even simpler. 

Home delivery service is even easier, as you only have to call in advance and ask for what you want, after which it will be delivered right to your home by the delivery service of the pharmacy where you will be making your purchase from. Mail order service works pretty much the same way, except that you will probably make your purchases via an online form, instead of from an actual human being. Your medications will then be delivered to your home via a third-party courier (think UPS) or messenger service.

Advantages And Disadvantages 

The main advantage of a retail pharmacy is that you can simply walk in and make your purchases without having to deal with filling up order forms and the like. In addition, other sundries and drug store type stuff is easy to pick up while you’re there. Of course a distinct disadvantage is that you will actually have to go to the store, which may not always be feasible for those with busy schedules.

Home delivery is a great option for such people, as it saves you the trouble of having to go to the pharmacy for what you need. However, the main disadvantage is that you may not be able to get prescription medications delivered to you in this manner, since you will obviously have to present your prescription from your doctor and sometimes a signature is required. Mail order deliver offers pretty much the same advantages and disadvantages as home delivery, although you usually have a much wider selection of medications to choose from. 

Similarities and Differences

Retail pharmacy

  • Offers a wide variety of prescription and non-prescription medications, along with a host of other health related products
  • Also carries products that are somewhat related to health or fitness

Home delivery

  • Purchases are delivered to the home of the customer
  • May be free or there may be a nominal charge

Mail order pharmacy

  • Merchandise will be delivered directly to the home of the buyer via mail or courier service
  • Usually has a much wider selection of medications to choose from

Which pharmacy option is most convenient for you?
  • Retail Pharmacy
  • Home Delivery
  • Mail Order Pharmacy

Discuss It: comments 3

  • Guest
  • Spine Prescription Drugs wrote on January 2012

In these all three option taking Home delivery drugs is much better. but every one has their own convenient. so it may be different option for different person.

We are forgetting the primary reasons that should be considered when making this decision. We do have a responsibility to our community to help maintain local jobs, keep our tax money with our county or town for potholes, police and schools. If we only make a decision based on our convenience then we are saying i don't care about the other issues. There are some problems and benefits with each, however if the majority chooses the mail order programs who are we going to call when it doesnt arrive and we are out of medication? Our local store had to close. (who by the way would have helped even knowing you left their service)The community pharmacies are struggling to stay open now, with all that we can help enhance our community with by keeping our business at home, the decision should be an easy one. It is not all about my conveinence, and if that is the deciding factor, how inconveinent are potholes, no police, collapsing schools?

  • Guest
  • Isa wrote on August 2017

What about the quality of the prescriptions? How do we know that the mail prescriptions are very good quality, if we don't have anyone to take the responsibility?

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