I ditched Walgreens for this pharmacy app, this is why



Get medication delivered to your entrance door.


Shopping for prescribed drugs on-line would not have an excellent fame. In truth, on-line pharmacies have raised security issues for so long as they have been round. So think about my hesitation when a brand new dermatologist referred me to Alto, a pharmacy app that delivers medication to my entrance door.

Regardless of being a millennial who will readily order meals from an app, I used to be skeptical and untrusting of getting drugs by my telephone. That’s, till I lastly tried it.

I have been utilizing Alto now for just a few months, and I hope to by no means have to return to an in-person pharmacy ever once more. Learn on to search out out why.


Alto reveals your entire lively prescriptions, and what number of refills are left.

Screenshot by Sarah Mitroff/CNET

What’s Alto?

Alto is a pharmacy app that delivers prescriptions to you. It’s at the moment obtainable within the San Francisco Bay Space and the Larger Los Angeles space. There are additionally two bodily places — one in San Francisco and one in Culver Metropolis — the place you possibly can decide up drugs.

Alto makes use of machines to automate the method of filling prescriptions. The primary is “Hazel,” a dishing out machine that holds 188 of essentially the most generally disbursed drugs.

The opposite is “Henry,” which creates plastic capsule packs of a number of drugs that have to be taken on the identical time — just like Amazon’s PillPack. A pharmacist verifies these two machines’ work to catch any errors.

Alto shares tons of of medicines, together with specialty medication for fertility, HIV and extra.

Why use a pharmacy app?

Regardless of my ever-growing frustration with it, Walgreens has been my major pharmacy for 10 years. The placement I am going to is big, open 24 hours and at all times has a line on the pharmacy pick-up window. I thought of switching to a different IRL pharmacy, however by no means acquired round to it.

Alto is the other expertise. There is not any line, only a scheduled supply window. As a substitute of standing behind somebody arguing with the pharmacist about attempting to get their drugs with an expired prescription, I get to take a seat on my sofa. The lengthy and wanting it’s that each time I’ve used Alto, it has been handy and straightforward.

One other perk is that Alto delivers a 30-day provide. Although that is altering, some pharmacy chains will solely ship a 90-day provide of treatment and that always requires a brand new prescription out of your physician. Not less than, that is what Walgreens has at all times instructed me.

How does ordering treatment from a pharmacy app work?

With Alto, there are two methods to get began; with a brand new prescription or an current one.

Create an account

Your physician can ship a brand new prescription to Alto in your behalf, which can set off the corporate to textual content you to join an Alto account. Or, you possibly can join an account everytime you need and switch your prescriptions from one other pharmacy.

If you happen to do switch prescriptions, Alto handles a variety of the effort. It is going to confirm that your prescription is lively and that you’ve refills, and can contact your physician so that you can get extra refills as wanted.


You may decide which drugs you need in every supply.

Screenshots by Sarah Mitroff/CNET

Scheduled deliveries

Regardless of the way you get began, after you have an account, you possibly can schedule deliveries in your treatment. You may decide the date you need them to reach, after which decide a 3-hour supply window. The alternatives are often 12 to three p.m. or 6 to 9 p.m. on weekdays, and a pair of to five p.m. on weekends.

When you decide the prescriptions you want, you may see a abstract of your order, with the prescription identify, dosage, amount and price (the place obtainable). If you first begin utilizing Alto, you won’t have the ability to see a worth till the corporate runs it previous your insurance coverage. After that, you may see the copay price from the final time you ordered the treatment.

Throughout your scheduled supply time, a supply particular person reveals up along with your drugs in a sealed field, which additionally features a single wrapped salted caramel as an added deal with. Walgreens simply cannot match that.

Does it price extra?

Costs are on par with what you’ll pay at every other pharmacy. You may add your insurance coverage data or a pharmacy financial savings card to your profile to get your copay or a reduction.

You can even pay full worth out of pocket for drugs that are not coated by insurance coverage. There aren’t any charges to make use of Alto, and in contrast to Walgreens or CVS, there is not any supply price.


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Is it protected?

I used to be nervous over utilizing a pharmacy in an app, principally that I might find yourself with the flawed treatment — and even worse, pretend treatment.

A giant purpose why I attempted it in any respect was that one in every of my medical doctors launched me to it. I used to be inclined to take their skilled judgement as a marker of security. One more reason I gave it an opportunity was as a result of I realized Alto was born from AG Pharmacy, a neighborhood brick-and-mortar SF pharmacy that operated for round 30 years. Lastly, I examine my state’s licensing board to confirm the corporate had a pharmacy license earlier than I scheduled my first supply.

Alto is legit, however that is to not say that each pharmacy you discover on-line is. The FDA has a program known as BeSafeRx that can assist you keep away from pharmacy web sites which might be straight-up scams, and discover ones which might be protected.

Different pharmacy apps and companies

Alto is way from the one app on the market, listed here are just a few different prescription supply web sites and apps:

There are additionally many websites the place you possibly can order contraception and nutritional vitamins for supply.


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