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Monday
Oct032011

Do I Need A Prescription for CPAP?

Yes, it's true.  A prescription is required for CPAP Machines, CPAP Masks, and even CPAP humidifiers.  Even cash customers who order supplies using Internet retailers are required to have a prescription or physician order.   Internet retailers are required by the FDA and local State Board of Pharmacy to have a copy of your prescription before dispensing equipment.

Sounds weird, doesn't it?  CPAP is not a drug.  You can't hurt yourself with a CPAP mask.   You would have a hard time hurting yourself with a CPAP machine.  But, the law is clear.  CPAP devices are considered Class II medical devices and require prescription by law. 

What happened?  I used to be able to buy without Prescription.

A lot of customers get confused.  They know, without doubt, that when they use insurance to pay for CPAP, a prescription is needed.  However, a lot of patients have purchased CPAP equipment using an Internet retailer in the past without a prescription.  Nothing changed in terms of laws, but a lot has changed in terms of enforcement.  With the retail CPAP industry becoming much larger and much more competitive, the Internet retailers are now on the radar of the enforcement authorities.  At TheCPAPPeople.com, we are still fairly new to the industry.  We don't have the longevity of our major competitors.  From the start of our company we have always tried to do what is best for our patients while still following the trends of our competitors.  We found out very quickly that our competitors were not always compliant.  Now, most of the major legitimate Internet retailers, like us, are compliant and are following the law.

You And Your CPAP Prescription

As a CPAP patient, here are some steps you can follow to make your internet transaction as seamless as possible.

  • If you have a prescription for CPAP, from any point in time, make a copy of it and archive it.
  • If you have used a local DME, ask for your prescription, or a copy.  You are free to keep this prescription in your own records.
  • Don't have a copy?  Contact your doctor to obtain a new copy.
  • Make sure the Internet retailer you have chosen is legitimate and following all the laws.
  • Check your Sleep Study paperwork.  Often, a doctor's order will be present within the sleep study that will suffice for supply orders.
  • Ask your retailer if they can assist you in getting the information needed from your Doctor.  Most retailers have a form that can be sent to your doctor's office for verification of therapy needs.  The retailer should provide a service for you to help in any way possible.
  • After providing your prescription to a retailer, it will be on file indefinitely.
  • View individual prescription policies for information on how prescriptions should be worded and what information should be present on the prescription.
  • Is your original doctor no longer available?  Have you moved?  Lost contact?  Your PCP or Family Physician can help you obtain the supplies you need.  Ask your PCP to write a prescription for CPAP supplies.   Your PCP may not be able to write a prescription for a new CPAP machine.  That may require a new sleep study.  But, for masks, your PCP may be able to help.
  • There is no national prescription database or national physician database.

Buy From A Legitimate Source

Here is a quick list of things to look for to make sure the retailer that you choose is legitimate and following all of the rules necessary to dispense equipment.

  • All retailers are required to be certified by their State Board of Pharmacy.  You should ask about this certification or the certification should be mentioned on its website.  If you have doubts, ask the retailer to send a copy of the certification to you via email or fax.
  • All retailers are required to obtain prescriptions BEFORE shipping (dispensing) CPAP devices to you.  If a retailer claims it will follow-up, or asks you to follow-up AFTER purchase, it is not following the law.
  • Legitimate retailers are required by the major manufacturers to have a toll-free phone number that is staffed during normal posted business hours.  Answering machines or services do not count.
  • If you have questions about a retailers standing or authorization to dispense a certain manufacturer's products, call the customer service phone number of the manufacturer and verify the retailer.

Other CPAP supplies, such as tubing replacements, cpap mask parts like cushions and headgear, CPAP comfort items, water chambers, and cpap machine filters DO NOT require prescriptions.   These items are not regulated and can be purchased at will.

How does TheCPAPPeople.com handle prescriptions?

We try very hard to make your transaction easy.  Here are the steps we follow to ensure you have access to your CPAP supplies.

  • Our entire prescription policy is listed on our website.
  • Items that require prescriptions are clearly noted on our website.
  • During the checkout process on our website, you will be prompted for prescription information if an item in your cart requires it.  You will be asked how you plan to provide that prescription to us, or if you need help in obtaining it.
    • Prescriptions can be faxed to 1-804-271-4715.
    • Prescriptions can be emailed to info@thecpappeople.com
      • Yes, we accept both scanned copies and/or photographs.  Even a quick snapshot with your cell phone camera will do.
    • If you need help, you will be asked for your doctor's name and phone number as well as your date of birth.  Your DOB is used to verify your medical record.
      • A Physician Order Form will be faxed or emailed to your doctor.  We usually receive replies within 24 hours.
  • Prescriptions are kept on file with our office forever.  When you need another mask or machine, you will not have to repeat this process.
  • Your order will not be shipped, nor will your credit card be charged, until we have a prescription.

Thank you for shopping with TheCPAPPeople.com.  We are here to be your best resource for retail CPAP supplies and if there is anything we can do to help, please contact us.

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