Stockpiling Medications Inexpensively, by J.B.

As news of the coronavirus spreads, it shocked me to learn that sixty percent of our finished medication, eighty percent of the precursor chemicals used to manufacture medication and almost one hundred percent of our antibiotics are manufactured in China. One only has to look at the news to see where we will be headed if the quarantine in China and the resulting factory closures and furloughs continue for even a few more months. Consider this quote from scmp.com:

“The United States’ ability to respond to an epidemic within its borders is critically hampered by its reliance on China for pharmaceutical products and insufficient funding for preparedness, former health officials warned on Wednesday.
The assessment came amid the growing spread of the ​deadly coronavirus that emerged in China’s Hubei province​, and just days after US President Donald Trump’s administration proposed significant cuts to the health agencies charged with leading the response to the contagion.
US drug companies rely heavily on China as a supplier of raw materials that go into the production of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), said Scott Gottlieb, former head of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
“In many cases China is the sole source of that material,” Gottlieb, who led the FDA for two years under Trump, said during a hearing on Capitol Hill.
At a time when China would be focusing its production on domestic demand rather than international export, and amid wide scale disruption to industry across the country caused by the coronavirus outbreak, Gottlieb said the contagion had exposed “a critical choke point in the supply chain for pharmaceuticals”.

Most of the pharmaceutical chemicals are produced in China’s ​Zhejiang province, more than 600km away from the outbreak’s epicentre in Wuhan, there had been some initial confidence that the unfolding crisis would not affect supply. But when the World Health Organisation (​WHO​) declared the coronavirus outbreak a global health emergency on January 31, it led to protocols over travel and supplies being tightened globally, and the movement of materials and people becoming more restricted.

With this in mind I went to see my doctor as I take several medications daily to maintain my health. I explained to the doctor my concerns and asked for a ninety day prescription to have a backup supply should the worst occur. My doctor who believes in a prepared lifestyle stated he would not be able to write these prescriptions as he feared he might jeopardize his license and further stated that things would be fine so I shouldn’t worry.

This response led me on an internet journey to see what I might be able to do to overcome my local doctor’s hesitation.

I Found a Good Source

After a few hours of searching, I discovered HoneyBee Pharmacy. This Pharmacy is properly licensed and located in Culver City California. A short web search revealed numerous five star reviews and an excellent trust pilot score. A few more searches showed their licensing status to be good. This pharmacy is online based and has no brick and mortar store. Their business model is to cut out the middleman and sell directly to consumers. They do not accept insurance and will not sell any medication with the potential to be abused (ADHD, muscle relaxers, narcotics etc.) Once you navigate to their web site you create an account and input your current medications, there are options on some medications for up to a six month supply. The prices are transparent and clearly listed. Shipping is free for 7-10 business days or ten dollars for second day air. The prices are simply amazing.

A six month supply of my current medications with no insurance, was less money than my co-pays for a one month supply at my local pharmacy. As with all things your mileage may vary. You must have a prescription on file with them and this can be accomplished a number of ways. Your current doctor can fax or send it electronically or they will contact your current pharmacy to transfer it over. However none of these ways met my goals to stockpile medication. If I had my doctor or pharmacy transfer my current prescriptions to HoneyBee. I would still be limited to that amount only. It is not my goal to save money (Although saving money is always nice), but to have a supply of stockpiled prescriptions put back for use when and if they become unavailable in my local area due to any calamity that might befall us.

So it became necessary to find a doctor who would be able to prescribe my current medications for at least a six month supply. After some time browsing the internet, I stumbled upon the web site DrSays.com. This website charges a flat fee of thirty five dollars for an initial consultation, this consultation can be by phone or video chat. The process is simple, easy and fast. You sign up for an online account, state the purpose of the consultation and a short time later a doctor calls or video chats with you. These doctors are licensed in the state you reside and have all the script writing privileges of any other doctor in your state. Once on the phone I explained to the doctor that I wanted an extended supply of my current medications and asked that a prescription be made out and sent over to HoneyBee pharmacy. The doctor spent a few minutes reviewing my medical history and list of current medications. The doctor then made out a prescription for a six month supply (the longest allowed in my state) and sent it over to HoneyBee pharmacy.

HoneyBee then verified this prescription and in two days I had a six month supply of medication to put back for when I might not be able to get them filled at my local pharmacy.

Doctor Shopping Laws

Some might object to this method thinking it nefarious or even fraudulent. I researched this issue and found that doctor shopping is a wobbler offense in my state (prosecuted as either a felony or misdemeanor depending on the circumstances). The doctor shopping law in my state reads as follows:

“It is illegal to use fraud, deceit or concealment of a material fact to obtain a controlled substance”

The elements of the crime is that:

A person obtained or tried to obtain, or received the administration of, or prescription of, or tried to receive the administration of, or prescription of a controlled substance and this act involved fraud, deceit, misrepresentation, subterfuge or the concealment of of a material fact.

The examples given in the text are as follows:

X visits the emergency room seeking pain medication. He falsely claims he is suffering from back pain due to a made up back injury. The doctor doesn’t believe him and sends him home. Even though he did not receive any medication, he is still in violation of the statute as he attempted to obtain medication through deceit

X visits a doctor and is prescribed a narcotic due to a car accident. He then visits a second doctor using a false name and is given a second prescription for that narcotic. He has violated the statute whether or not he actually receives any medication at all as he both used fraud and deceit to obtain the prescription

X visits a doctor and is prescribed anxiety medication. X visits a second doctor and is given a second prescription for the medication. X plans to sell this medication to recreational users. This is a violation of this statute as X has concealed the fact he plans to sell the medication and not use it himself.

When speaking with the doctor during the phone consultation. I concealed no facts, was not deceitful in any manner and provided my true and correct information. I even uploaded photographs of the medication bottles I currently have. I was up-front with the doctor and explained I wished to receive a prescription for an extended amount of time to have an extra supply on hand. I even explained that my current doctor was unwilling or unable to write a prescription for the six month time frame I requested. This doctor was both receptive and understanding to my desire to have a backup plan in place should my local supplier be unable to to fill these prescriptions in the future.

There is also no fraudulent behavior when it comes to payment. HoneyBee Pharmacy does not accept any form of insurance and only sells directly to the customer at a highly discounted rate. Two willing parties, exchanging money for good or services, in a straight transaction in which both parties completely understand all aspects of the transaction, can not under any circumstances ever constitute fraud or even a morally questionable situation. That being said I am not a lawyer and this does not constitute legal advice. The laws and examples written above apply only to my state and as always your mileage may vary.

Not having a stockpile of medication on hand has been a source of concern for me for quite some time. I hope this article can help others put up a supply of medication for a rainy day in both a legal and ethical manner.




36 Comments

  1. Forgot to include metronidazole (flagyl), and augmentin in the list above.
    I intentionally left out ciprofloxcin because of the potentially, very nasty side effects involving tendons and ligaments.
    https://www.medicinenet.com/ciprofloxacin/article.htm

    I should also mention to add to your library, The Nurses Desk Reference, Diseases.
    Great diagnostic tool. Can’t fix it if you don’t know what it is. Lots of pictures. this one is less than $7.00:
    https://www.amazon.com/Diseases-The-Nurses-reference-library/dp/0916730190

    And of course all of Dr. Joe Alton’s books that are written for the aspiring prepper medic. Find at Survival Medicine,.com, or bloomanddoom.net. He can best suggest more medicines to buy. Get his list!

    Antibiotics are going to be priceless. Get some ASAP.

  2. This is amazing! Thank you for this. A young family member takes a prescription daily; he’s only allocated a 90 day supply which can’t be refilled til only 1 week of meds are left. He inquired as to what it would cost to just pay on his own and even though it’s a generic, it would be insanely expensive. He looked at other online prescription companies, different pharmacies etc but all were crazy expensive. I just looked up what he takes and a 90 day supply would cost $124! I just sent him the link to HoneyBee.

    1. Sadly this is not going to help my family member after all as he is limited to no more than a 90 day supply whether through his regular pharmacy or HoneyBee and DrSays doesn’t operate in our state.

  3. The manufacture of medicines within the U.S., from the development of raw materials to the finished patient-ready product, should be considered a matter of national security. We need to bring production back to facilities within our borders. It’s not the only area we need to address, but it should be among the short list of highest priorities for the U.S. The fact that we are so highly dependent on other countries (some unfriendly and even hostile to our interests), is outrageous.

    1. T of A,
      This has long been a concern here too.
      Imagine hiring (pick a country) their army, navy, Air Force, etc. to care for the security of our nation.

      This article is very timely for me personally as I was going to call in a script for refill today.
      Online seems a great choice about now…

      1. From your post: “Imagine hiring (pick a country) their army, navy, Air Force, etc. to care for the security of our nation.”

        A great example that really makes the point!

    2. Minimum wage is being raised because the general public can’t afford items made by other countries (some basically using slave labor)

      How are we as a nation going to be able to afford product made in America by workers who make minimum wage?

      Well there is two ways.

      One following the agricultural model where the government steps in and supports the industry by giving money.

      The other is the government to step in and give consumers the money for the goods them selves.

      Either way it’s the same thing.

      After around 10 years (approximated for sale of discussion) of unemployment in the single to very low double digits …. It’s not like there is a large pool of workers to fill the new jobs

      Certainly not enough to create additional tax revenue etc to give the government enough cash to supplement manufacturing offsets on that scale.

      That’s why manufacturers have left the country.
      That’s why workers in this country aren’t able to buy what they make.

      Average wages for a cabinet maker is around 15 to 20 dollars an hour … 41,600 a year before taxes. Average price for new kitchen cabinets (MDF or particle board) 20,000 to 40,000. That’s half to a whole years pre tax income.

    1. JMBZ

      I was a sales rep for a panel and Formica distributor for 21 years. I sold material to cabinet and counter top shops. So on your 20-40,000 dollar kitchen the materials may cost around 1500.00-3000.00 depending on wood species and finishing options etc. so I would say the profit margins are pretty nice at sale of 20 grand. Now get designers and remodelers in the mix and there is where the mark ups occur. Yes the guys I the shops may make 20bucks per hour, but then they get to build their own cabinets don’t they for just their own lablor and materials. All I know is that industry, in my area, is so busy backlogs are months for cabinets. And there is a desperate need for people in the woodworking industry. So let’s not succumb to liberal type hyperbole. Everyone one I know I’d doing very well IF they are living within their means. Prepare as always because who know what might happen but if times are good take advantage of it and live a little.

  4. Most drugs have an expiration date of one year out. My discussions with doctors and pharmacists yielded an answer that “the effectiveness/strength of the medication would decrease after the expiration date.” A ploy by the companies to keep you going back for a “fresh” supply?

    1. I have no particular qualifications on this subject, but I did read that, within the last five years, the Pentagon gave orders to use medications beyond their expiration dates. I do not recall whether this decision was made on a drug by drug basis.

      The reason for the change was that it had determined through testing that a great many drugs had expiration dates that were much too short, and the drugs were effective for a considerable period beyond the expiration date. From memory, the DoD saved about $200 million a year by making the switch. If there were any negative repercussions from the change in policy, they weren’t reported.

      Manufacturers have incentive to provide short expiration dates on medications. It improves sales.

      When I was a kid, you know, sometime during the War of 1812, I remember hearing that it was possible for light bulb manufacturers to make a light bulb that lasted almost forever. There was no money in doing that, however.

      Planned obsolescence applies to so many aspects of society. I have to think that it applies to the pharmaceutical industry in many cases.

      1. According to my ex girlfriend who was in fact a chemist and involved in developing new medications.

        “The expectation date is the date that guarantees nondegraded performance of the active chemicals in the meds under the worst storage. It is chosen with a very wide margin of error to protect the manufacturer from lawsuits.”

        Right now people are upset that it’s too short.. imagine the outrage if a child was given ineffective medicine because of the age of it and it was still not expired…

        “Those money loving doctors and pharmaceutical people kill that boy because they were too cheap to keep fresh medicine ..”

        1. I have been told that most vehicles can safely tow more weight than the manufacturer indicates. The reason the manufacturers don’t tell an owner about the actual towing capacity is that they know that people will push the limits, intentionally or accidentally.

          As I said, I have no particular qualifications in the field. All I know is that the Pentagon decided that it was paying too much for drugs and was discarding effective medication/antibiotics because they were past their expiration date. I suppose that the DoD has the capacity to monitor their use accordingly.

          1. For ropes and tow straps it is referred to as the safety factor, where you literally reduce the max allowable weight by a pre-determined factor.

            As a hypothetical example; A rope rated for 100 lbs may be actually able to lift 250 lbs brand-new, but the reduced weight rating helps compensate for weakening (damage) for the intended lifespan of the rope.

            It’s not necessarily a gimmick on the part of the manufacturer.

    2. Google the Army SLEP – Shelf Life Extension Program.

      In general, pills, tablets and capsules (anything dry) can be considered safe and effective far beyond the “expiration date.” Up to 20 years in some cases.

      Most medications are nothing more than seeded salts, and salts are very stable chemically. Keep them away from heat, moisture & light and they last a long long time.

    3. The drugs do lose effectiveness after some time and if the Industry maxed out the date and something happens, someone down the line could be hurt, dangerously, painfully even deadly.
      Would you want to Risk that with your beloved?

    4. Got a med one time, expiration date one year from date of pickup. Months later, refilled the same drug, same store. Exp date one year out. Checked batch numbers, same batch, Hmmm…

      turns ot the one year is a legal fictioi. Some places have laws making possession of d”expire drugs” an offense. Gots ta keep the peons on a short chain, eh?

      Most drugs have indefinite shelf life if stored reasonably well. Exp dates of most drugs is a fiction, a legal construct. Not any connexioin with reality.

  5. How do we ascertain that these are legit medications and not fakes from Mexico?, There are many bootlegs circulating in the net, buyers beware.

    1. Honeybee is registered with the BBB with an a rating. As far as how legit the pills are well that’s up to you as the consumer to research look at and call the pharmacy to see what company makes your pills and look into any recalls are reports of fraud.

      The US f d a was established specifically to make sure what we are given to put in our bodies is what it’s supposed to be.

      Research learn get informed. And make your choice based off of that.

      That’s the adult way to be. That is what it really means to be American.

      1. Not all of our medications are made in China. Many of them come from India which is also having supply problems sourcing chemicals from China. Another large supplier is……..wait for it………Mexico.

        From my experience, meds are about a dime on the dollar in Mexico. Many of the pharmacies depend on repeat business with cross border shoppers. Selling ineffective meds will not get the customers back.

        1. According to what I read, 80% of the “fixins” used by India to produce medication comes from China.

          As Casey Stengel would say, “You can look it up.”

          I saw something on the internet yesterday to the effect that India is banning the export of certain medications. I didn’t read the article closely, but I believe that the point of the article was that India wanted to keep the meds available for the Indian population during the pandemic.

  6. This is really helpful for those who must have their medicines. I just had an enlightening experience. I somehow cut my arm . I remember thinking “ouch!”.but have no idea what i cut it on. A day or so later I was brushing my hair and noticed it. I just ignored it figuring it would just heal. Possibly a day later it was itching like crazy. I looked again and it was quite inflamed. I just cleaned it well put a little hydrogen peroxide on it and figured it would heal. Nope. It got super inflamed and even caused my hand to hurt. Oops. I was thinking that I just might have to go to the doctor for this. I then tried to clean it well and smothered it with triple antibiotic that I had gotten from the dollar store and covered it with a bandaid. After three days of this the infection is gone and it’s healing. So, first, don’t ignore your wounds. Second have triple antibiotic on hand. If I hadn’t it would have been a trip to the doctor and if I couldn’t get to a doctor this could have ended us serious. We often take our health fo granted and things can change quite quickly.

    1. My survival/prepping orientation was rekindled around 2008 when I saw “After Armageddon” on History Channel during “Armageddon Week.” https://youtu.be/OtP80Z08lfg I consider it to be “must viewing” for anyone who remotely considers himself or herself to be a survivalist/prepper. It is especially relevant now because it deals with a global flu pandemic.

      So as not to include any spoiler here, I will simply say that if you watch it, you will see the importance of a tube of triple antibiotic. What can be bought for one dollar at a dollar store now, and for less than two dollars at Walmart, could be priceless in a severe societal meltdown.

      Buy plenty. Several tubes won’t cost an arm and a leg now, but not having it could cost you an arm or a leg later.

  7. Wow. My doc didn’t even blink and wrote the prescription for an extra 90 days.

    Took it to an “off grid” pharmacy that doesn’t know me from Adam and I paid cash.

  8. When I was taking Atenolol, a beta blocker, I got my DR to give me a 90 day supply and double the dosage so I could cut them in half. I was able to refill early and this gave me a year supply.

  9. Thomas Lab fish antibiotics are the exact same composition and grade as human antibiotics. I keep a supply of penicillin, keflex, cipro, augmentin, and flagyl on hand. Never know when my “fish” will need them.

    Herbals can also help mitigate some of the underlying factors requiring medications to begin with. Cinnamon has been shown to aid in glucose metabolism and lower blood sugars, while garlic can aid in blood pressure regulation. Willow bark contains salicyte, the active ingredient in aspirin.

    As always- due you research and use at your own risk.

  10. Free Medical Training for the Survivalist Medic
    (I am grateful for the hundred of hours of free training I received from Dr. Alton and Nurse Amy. Security will be job one. Medicine will be job 2. )

    A few of the grossly under utilized treasury trove of videos from Dr. Alton’s You Tube channel:

    My Top Antibiotics to Store for Preparedness, by Dr. Joseph Alton
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RcIWM-6oY2c&t=122s

    Altons Antibiotics and Infectious Disease Book: A Layman’s Guide
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TpoGItOK8rI

    Medical Doctors Grid Down Survival Advice | Joe Alton M.D. | Antibiotics After SHTF
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ks00XG3n7yM

    How Many Antibiotic Pills to Store for Survival Preparedness?
    https://youtu.be/HM9Wy8CGVNo

    Expiration Dates and The Truth by Dr. Bones
    https://youtu.be/2GRBn8XxdFY

    The Future of Fish Antibiotics in Survival Medicine
    https://youtu.be/BqO8xAQuFMM

    What is really needed for long term medical supplies
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=snumqufPtBQ

    Sulfa Antibiotic (Bactrim or sulfamethzone trimithaprim)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hjRIX9341N4

    Clindamycin:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kowUihwX744

    Antibiotic Azithromycin by Dr. Bones
    https://youtu.be/3BU-m6g1eZE

    Survival and Fish Antibiotics Series: Amoxicillin
    https://youtu.be/j3itFgOk6vk

    Ciprofoxacin:
    https://youtu.be/SPQB2KQSeCI

    Doxycline:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LtDi8IccZ10

    Metronidazole (Flagyl)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mKzMGnEjSrM
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mKzMGnEjSrM

    A few examples on Survival Blog:
    (Use Survivalblogs search engine and create your own medical library file)

    A Doctor’s Thoughts on Antibiotics, Expiration Dates, and TEOTWAWKI, by Dr. Bones
    https://survivalblog.com/a-doctors-thoughts-on-antibiot/

    Dealing With Hypothermia by Joe Alton, MD and Amy Alton ARNP
    https://survivalblog.com/guest-post-dealing-hypothermia-joe-alton-md-amy-alton-arnp/

    The Mass Casualty Incident: Triage, by Amy Alton, A.R.N.P., and Joe Alton, M.D.
    https://survivalblog.com/the-mass-casualty-incident-triage-by-amy-alton-arnp-and-joe-alton-md/

    Guest Article: Vehicular Terror – The Easiest Blueprint For Creating Mayhem, by Joe Alton, MD
    https://survivalblog.com/guest-article-vehicular-terror-easiest-blueprint-creating-mayhem-joe-alton-md/

  11. I had a similar concern. I opened with my doctor about what would happen to me physically if I couldn’t obtain my medicines. I explained my concerns about the availability of raw ingredients for my generic blood pressure medicines because of unknowns in China. I asked for 180 day scripts for my medicines and told him I plan to pay cash at a pharmacy that didn’t have my insurance information. He was amendable to writing the scripts but wanted to know where to send the information. I went home, researched drug costs at local pharmacies and called him back with where to send the prescriptions. I was able to use coupons from goodrx.com. The total cost wasn’t that much more than my normal copays, though that would vary depending on your medications. Now I’m prepared too.

    1. I have to comment on the GoodRx site. As a disabled vet I get my meds from the VA. My wife gets hers through ChampVA, an affiliate of the VA. If she needs a new medication quickly she goes to Wally World who then bills it to ChampVA. Wally World won’t fill an existing script early because ChampVA won’t pay.

      She had a previously scheduled appointment with her doctor a few days ago. While there we asked for another prescription for her blood thinner to be sent to another pharmacy for a 3 month supply. We explained our concerns about potential shortages and he was happy to help. The price was quite a bit more than it would have been at Wally’s. The pharmacy tech suggested we try GoodRx and when we went to the site typed in the the name of the medication, the dose and the number prescribed it took a $57.00 price down to $17.00.

  12. I think that if the medications are NON opiates/scheduled II meds-(so NOT a pain med/sleeping pill/anxiety med) most doctors would not have a problem with writing an emergency supply for patients (ex blood pressure/cholesterol/thyroid meds)

    1. nowadays with electric health records and e-prescribing- it’s more of an issue because in some states (like mine=NY)- you can’t have any written scripts anymore- it MUST be electronic or doctor gets fined->the only loophole with that is calling in a script
    2. pharmacy/insurance track when the meds are dispensed so you can’t “fill” it before you are due anyway (even if you get a “new script”)
    3. you can try having dose changed (ie double the dose written-but you know to cut tablet in half to stay on your original dose)

Comments are closed.