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Are Virtual Doctors Allowed to Write Online Prescriptions?

Here’s what you need to know about virtual doctors and how online prescriptions work.

Virtual doctors and telemedicine were around long before the COVID-19 pandemic struck the globe. However, the virus certainly heightened the need for online prescriptions. So, here’s everything you need to know about virtual doctors, how virtual consultations work, and prescription medication.

Are Virtual Doctors Allowed to Write Online Prescriptions?

Virtual doctors can write online prescriptions and send them electronically to you or your nearest pharmacy following your virtual consultation. After your doctor diagnoses you, they might prescribe medication to treat or alleviate your symptoms. Besides the fact that your appointment is taking place online and not in-person, the process for receiving your prescriptions is basically the same.

What Can a Virtual Doctor Treat?

Your virtual doctor can treat all non-emergency conditions. Patients will commonly schedule telemedicine appointments to get antibiotics, birth control, manage chronic conditions, receive mental health support, and get refills on their prescriptions.

What Medication Can Telemedicine Prescribe?

Common types of prescriptions that virtual doctors write include:

  • prescription refills
  • allergy medication
  • antibiotics
  • birth control
  • anti-fungal medication
  • diabetes medication
  • hypertension medication

However, there are more telemedicine prescriptions besides the ones listed above; these just give an indication of how readily available treatment is – even through a virtual platform.

What Prescriptions Will Virtual Doctors Not Write?

It goes without saying that prescription policies and legislation will differ from country to country and platform to platform. But there are specific prescriptions that virtual doctors cannot fil:

  • antipsychotics like Seroquel and Risperdal
  • medical marijuana
  • stimulants like Adderall and Ritalin
  • sedatives and sleeping aids like Xanax and Ambien
  • narcotics like morphine, oxycodone, and Vicodin
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How Does a Virtual Doctor Visit Work?

The way virtual consults are facilitated vary depending on the platform you are using. With Air Doctor, patients can book their virtual consultation, see a doctor online (or in-person), and get treatment without leaving home via the mobile or web app. Here’s how it works:

  1. Patients can use the web or mobile app to search for doctors based on their specialty. They can also filter their search based on distance, price, and even language.
  2. Once you find the doctor you want to consult with, you can schedule your online appointment.
  3. The doctor is notified that a patient has made an appointment and has 45 minutes to confirm the appointment or suggest a different time.
  4. The consultation takes place and the doctor prescribes any necessary treatments.
  5. Once the virtual consultation is finished, the doctor confirms that the appointment occurred and gets paid by Air Doctor within 48 hours.

Please visit our FAQ page for more information on how Air Doctor’s process works.

How Do Virtual Doctors Maintain Safety?

Keeping patients safe is a doctor’s responsibility. Always make sure the platform you are using has a doctor verification process in place. A virtual doctor should be able to explain the prescription process, advise you on treatments, and tell you why certain medications should be taken over others.

As a general rule of thumb, and to err on the side of caution, your virtual doctor will most likely do the following:

  • Identify the reason for your current condition and guide you through a virtual examination.
  • Discuss past and current medication, both prescription-based and over-the-counter.
  • Ensure that your condition warrants a prescription before writing one.
  • Rule out the possibility of any interactions with other medication.

While in-person consultations feel more natural to many patients, circumstances don’t always allow for traditional doctor appointments. Virtual doctors and telemedicine are now a prominent part of global healthcare systems and a reliable way to receive medical advice and online prescriptions, provided you are using a reputable platform.


Jenny Cohen Drefler

Jenny Cohen Derfler

Air Dr CEO & Co-Founder

Jenny is the CEO and one of the Co-Founders at Air Doctor. She spent more than 20 years at Intel, most recently as general manager of its manufacturing facility in Israel and before that in various engineering and manufacturing roles in Silicon Valley. Air Doctor is her second startup having previously founded electric vehicle company ElectRoad.