Your prescriptions delivered through the mail right to your door? Sounds convenient, especially when a pharmacy is miles away and you may not have transportation, need regular refills on prescriptions, or are just busy. But when it comes to your health, it’s important to know that mail order drugs aren’t always what they seem.

According to a nationwide survey of 1,390 adults by the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA), 85% of American adults who rely on prescription medications prefer getting their drugs from a local independent pharmacist versus through the mail. And their preference is with good reason. It can be risky to rely on the unknown to ship something that is so vital to your health.

“Most Americans clearly are not willing to substitute personal care for the perception of convenience,” said pharmacist and NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey, MBA. “When they need medicine, they want to talk to a health care provider who knows them.”

An alternative to mail order, of course, is getting your prescriptions through your local independent pharmacy. For adults who opt for independent pharmacies over mail order services, the trust factor plays a big role. Prescriptions can be complicated, and it’s a good bet to stick with pharmacists who know your healthcare needs and understand your conditions.

Here are Carolina Pharmacy’s top 9 reasons to choose your independent pharmacy over mail order prescriptions:

  1. You can’t get a prescription by mail the same day they are prescribed; in fact, they usually take up to two weeks to arrive.
  2. The mail system can be unpredictable, meaning you run the risk of medications arriving late or damaged.
  3. If your medication by mail requires a signature, there is the chance no one is home to sign, and you won’t get your prescription. This is an especially important consideration for life-threatening conditions.
  4. The properties of some drugs can be altered when they are left outside in the weather and elements.
  5. It can be complicated to fill out forms for mail order prescriptions and your healthcare provider may be unaware if your insurance covers mail order.
  6. A local pharmacist offers health support and guidance about your prescriptions that a mail order service cannot.
  7. And independent pharmacy understands you and your health conditions and can provide valuable medical advice.
  8. It’s easy to reach a specific pharmacist or pharmacy tech.
  9. Your local independent pharmacy likely has a delivery service that can get your prescriptions quickly to your door.

“Ultimately, we know our patents better than any mail order service, and can answer their questions and be a trusted counsel. There’s just no replacement for that personal trust.” — Chirag Patel, PharmD, M.B.A.,Chief Operating Officer, Carolina Pharmacy Group.