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The different ways of getting ED drugs and treatment

The different ways of getting ED drugs and treatment

Erectile dysfunction drugs have become increasingly available and more widely accessible. This allows more men to get the treatment they need when they encounter erectile dysfunction problems. However, the issue is still a sensitive one for many and so online options can provide a discreet way to seek help without having to attend a face-to-face appointment.

In the US, nearly all ED medications are prescription-only and you can get your treatment privately, online or in person.

As far as subsidised treatments go, ED isn’t usually covered by Medicare. However, certain people (such as those who pay for Medicare Advantage and Part D prescription drug plans) might qualify to get things like diagnostic tests and exam costs covered.

On this page, we’ll discuss the various ways you can get ED drugs and treatment.

Daniel Atkinson
Medically reviewed by
Daniel Atkinson, GP Clinical lead
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Medically reviewed by
Dr Daniel Atkinson
GP Clinical lead
on August 02, 2022.
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How can I get Viagra in person?

If you want to get Viagra in person at a local pharmacy, you’ll first need to have an appointment with a doctor. During your consultation the doctor will be able to assess your condition and decide what ED treatment will be suitable for you. Once they write a prescription for your ED treatment you’ll be able to choose a pharmacy where you can pick up your medication in person.

There is also a generic version of Viagra, known as Sildenafil, which works in exactly the same way but is available in lower doses.

Do you need a prescription to get Viagra over the counter?

In the UK, you can now find Viagra over the counter (OTC) in high street pharmacies, sold as a brand called Viagra Connect. Once a person answers a questionnaire and a pharmacist agrees that this treatment could help them, then they’ll be able to buy it without a prescription.

Viagra Connect contains the same active ingredient, Sildenafil, as the median dose of Viagra (50mg). So, in a sense, you can buy Viagra over the counter in the UK – it’s just called Viagra Connect and is issued as a pharmacy (P) medicine.

As it stands, FDA-approved treatments such as Viagra and Cialis still require a prescription in all parts of the US. According to the FDA, dietary supplements that claim to enhance your sexual performance can contain undisclosed drugs that are often found in prescription-only ED drugs, sometimes in excessively high doses. For this reason, we recommend avoiding unlicensed ED alternatives and speaking to a doctor before starting any treatment.

Getting Viagra from Walgreens, CVS Health, Kroger or other main-street chemists

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Main-street chemists and pharmacies, including Walgreens (or Duane Reade), CVS Health and Kroger should all stock ED medication. It’s become so widely accessible, in fact, that if you were to Google ‘Viagra near me’ you’d likely find a pharmacy close to you that stocks it.

However, if you want to get your Viagra in Walgreens (or any other popular ED medication like Cialis or Levitra) you won’t be able to unless you’ve been issued a prescription by a doctor. If you’ve been given a prescription, you should be able to take it to most pharmacies and they will be able to dispense it for you.

Getting Viagra from Walmart, Winn-dixie, Costco, and other supermarkets

Several major supermarket chains in the US offer pharmacy services in their stores. This means you could buy Viagra at Walmart, Winn-dixie or Costco. But the process for doing so is the same as it is at a main-street pharmacy, and you’ll need a prescription.

GNC is a retail company that sells health foods, vitamins and supplements – it’s not a pharmacy registered to provide medication. Because of this, you can’t get Viagra or any other regulated ED medication in their stores.

However, you may be able to get ‘natural’ erectile dysfunction supplements which are anecdotally used to treat ED and libido, including a number of plant and root-based treatments. The evidence to suggest these kinds of products work is slim, and so it’s best to speak to a doctor if you’re considering using them to treat your ED.

Getting ED drugs with Medicare

Medicare is a health insurance plan for people age 65 and older in the United States. Funded by the government, it has several parts that cover different types of health conditions and medical costs.

Whether it’s branded medicines or their generic versions, ED treatments aren’t typically covered by Medicare plans, including Medigap (supplemental insurance). This means getting subsidised help for your ED problem might not be easy.

Some plans, such as Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D prescription drugs plans, will help to cover generic ED prescriptions – but only if these drugs are deemed medically necessary and are prescribed to treat other conditions besides ED. This means if you take medication for conditions such as an enlarged prostate, or pulmonary hypertension, you might be in luck getting help from Medicare if those meds also double-up as an ED treatment.

What does the process involve?

If you are over 65 and looking at getting help for your ED with Medicare, the first thing to do is see which plans can help you and if you’re eligible to join it.

Medicare has four different parts (A, B, C, and D). Within each part, prescription medications are covered differently. Parts A and B are referred to as original Medicare, while part C (Medicare Advantage) is a private insurance option that includes all the perks of parts A and B. Part D, sometimes called the prescription drug benefit, doesn’t usually provide for ED medications. However, costs and types of coverage do vary state to state. There are typically hundreds of plans to choose from in any given state.

There is also the option to appeal a coverage decision, which involves getting your doctor to explain to your insurance company that the medication you want is medically necessary.

More information about which drugs are covered by what plans can be found on the Medicare website.

Where can you get your ED treatment online

Lots of ED treatments are available online from a number of regulated pharmacies, like us here at Treated. It’s important to ensure you source ED medication safely from a licensed provider.

If you’re getting your treatment online in the US, pharmacies should be VIPPS (Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites) approved and registered with the National Association Board of Pharmacies (NABP). Websites such as GoGoMeds also include icons or badges to prove their legitimacy (such as being LegitScript certified) so you know you’re making secure purchases.

Some online retailers, particularly Amazon, are continually expanding their product lines and services. At the time of writing, Amazon Pharmacy currently sells a number of general sales list pharmacy items on their website – this includes a lot of treatments you might expect to see on the shelves in your local high street pharmacy. However, currently, they don’t sell pharmacy medicines (P) and you cannot renew prescriptions online with Amazon. It’s likely that as time goes on, Amazon may incorporate prescription medicines into their pharmacy services, but this is not the case at the time of writing. Availability of their pharmacy services will also vary state to state.

Online store Ebay is not a registered pharmacy, though it is possible to get general sales list items, like cough syrups, painkillers and supplements, just to name a few. But you can’t buy pharmacy medicines, renew prescriptions or purchase ED medication using their services.

Getting Viagra from online pharmacies

Online pharmacies have become more common, accessible and better regulated in recent years.

Legitimate online pharmacies are registered with the NABP, work with qualified prescribing staff and ensure medication is only issued where appropriate.

What does the process involve?

Firstly, you can expect to take some form of online consultation for ED. This might be a phone or video call, but more typically comes as an online questionnaire. You’ll be asked about your general health and ED symptoms, as well as any health conditions you may suffer with or medicines you take.

Once the ED questionnaire is complete, it’ll be reviewed by a healthcare professional who is registered to prescribe. You should be able to check the status of independent prescribers through your state board of pharmacy, or on the NABP and website. Doctors need to be registered with your state’s medical board.

If the prescriber thinks ED treatment is safe and suitable, they may recommend treatment and write an e-prescription. The pharmacy will then dispense your medication and it’ll be shipped directly to you.

Buying ED drugs safely online

When you buy Viagra online in the US, it’s important to ensure you’re doing it safely and within the law.

Though laws have adapted to better regulate the internet, and what you can purchase online, it’s still possible to buy potentially dangerous treatments for ED. To ensure you’re buying safely, and what you’re getting is the real deal, there are some checks you can perform:

  • Registered pharmacy – online NABP (National Association of Boards of Pharmacy) accredited pharmacies can sell pharmacy medication. They should display a red NABP badge on their site, usually at the bottom.
  • Registered prescribers – you can only buy prescription ED drugs online if you have a pre-existing prescription from your family physician. Or the online seller works with healthcare professionals, who are registered as prescribers, to carry out online consultations. In the US doctors need to be registered with your state medical board.
  • Accredited by the VIPPS (Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites)- make sure any online pharmacy you choose is accredited with the VIPPS. You’ll know these sites have pass a rigorous criteria review process.
    Legitimate online pharmacies and treatment providers will want to provide you with accurate information that is sourced well. It might be worth double checking the information on a reputable health source like the FDA.
  • Be wary if you’re on a website that offers discounts, ‘buy one get one free’ offers, phrases like ‘buy Viagra online cheap’ or otherwise illicit sales tactics to try and coax you into parting with your money could be a sign that they are not a legitimate seller.
  • Lastly, if you’re ever unsure about anything online remember you can always speak to your own doctor or pharmacist instead.

Talk to us about ED treatment

You can also get Sildenafil and Viagra online right here at Treated. Our pharmacy is registered with the NABP and is VIPPS accredited.

Our experts are on hand to guide you through getting your ED treatment. Answer some basic questions about your health and symptoms, which we’ll then review. You can subscribe to the best ED medication plan to suit you, which is inclusive of regular delivery and unlimited access to our medical team.

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When we present you with stats, data, opinion or a consensus, we’ll tell you where this came from. And we’ll only present data as clinically reliable if it’s come from a reputable source, such as a state or government-funded health body, a peer-reviewed medical journal, or a recognised analytics or data body. Read more in our editorial policy.

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