How to Stockpile Medication

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Author of What to Eat When You’re Broke and Bloom Where You’re Planted online course

In the days of insurance, strict rules, and shortages, putting back a personal hoard of important medication isn’t as easy as it used to be. If you or someone you love has a required prescription, this article on how to stockpile medication is for you.

Now, let me preface this with the disclaimer that all of these suggestions will not work for every single person with every single illness in every single situation. My hope is that you can find a strategy that works for you or perhaps cobble a few strategies together to build up your personal supply.

How to stockpile medication

There are a lot of meds out there with a host of problems that will return if you suddenly stop taking them. With some, your symptoms will come back. Others may be required for day-to-day life if you or a loved one suffers from certain life-threatening conditions. Some, if you stop cold turkey, could even land you in the hospital or worse, such as benzodiazepines.

Here are a variety of strategies you can try to build up a stockpile of medications.

Ask for an extra month. Depending on your physician, you may be able to work with him or her to put back some extra meds. I asked for an extra month of medication after we encountered a refill window during which the medication was not available anywhere. (This was when some facility had burned down, which happened to be where my medication was made.) When supplies resumed, I asked my doctor if he could give me an extra month’s prescription so that I could keep ahead in case of future emergencies. I had to pay for this completely out of pocket, as insurance companies are highly regulated in how much they’ll let you have at a time. When I got refills in the future, I simply used the oldest bottle and put back the newest bottle. I used to be on a daily medication and used this strategy to have one full month ahead at all times.

Ask for your prescription to be increased. Again, you need a physician who will work with you to do this. If you take two pills a day, ask for a prescription for three pills a day. Then simply put back the extras. Within 3 months, you’ll have an extra month of medication put back. In a year, you’ll have four months put aside. It takes a while, but this is an easy way to do it that will generally be covered by insurance.

Fill your prescription as early as possible each time. There’s always a window when you can get your refills. For some meds, that’s only 3-5 days before you run out. But take advantage of those days because that’s 3-5 days of extra meds you can put into your stash.  It will take a while to build up your supply this way, but every little bit helps.

Ask for an extra week. This works well in the summer or around the holidays and you can do this more than once if you space it out. Let your doctor know that during a vacation or the holidays, it can be difficult to get your refills. (Where’s the lie?) Ask if he or she will call in an extra week to cover you for a trip. You’ll pay for this out of pocket, but you can add to your stockpile of medication.

Ask about reducing your prescription. This one is tricky because it could leave you worse off if you don’t do it right. Ask your doctor the next time you are there if you might be able to consider reducing how many pills you take and see if he’ll let you cut back on your own based on how you feel. The benefit of this is that you’ll know if you can safely cut back. Then, if all systems are “go,” began dialing back how much you take and putting back the extra. Continue refilling your existing prescription, and you’ll have extra meds to stash away. This only works if the doctor does not change your official prescription, which is why you need to ask if you can base it on how you feel. Then when you go back for another visit, don’t mention that you’ve reduced it unless there’s a problem.

It’s very important to work with your doctor before making any changes to prescription medications. I’m not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV.

Reduce your dependence on medications.

Another option is, in some cases, to reduce your need for prescription meds. Again, don’t make medication changes without consulting your doctor. But, something you can do is strive to improve your condition.

If you improve your overall health you may find that you are less dependent on medications. I know many people who have gotten off their prescriptions when they lost weight, began exercising regularly, managed their diets, or used other natural strategies.

Lose weight. I know, I know. It sounds so easy but can be so difficult. Trust me, I’ve struggled with this ever since having children. But I’m not suggesting you need to turn into a supermodel. If you can successfully drop as little as 5% of your body weight, you can improve such conditions as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and elevated blood sugar. Don’t go overboard – start with small behavioral changes and then add more once you have successfully established the first habit. It’s a marathon, not a sprint, and you don’t have to do everything all at once.

Start exercising. No matter who you are or what your situation is, there are exercises that you can do. For example, DDP Yoga has a “Chair Force” workout for folks who cannot get up and exercise. You can find videos on YouTube loaded with great workouts for those who are sedentary. Lace up your shoes and start walking – you can start small just by doing one simple task you may have had your kids doing, such as walking to the mailbox each day to get your mail. You don’t need to being by going a mile, just add more steps than you had the previous day. I know that a serious ankle injury took me out for months but using plans designed for people who were chairbound and adapting them to my ability helped keep me from losing all the progress I’d previously made.

Improve your diet. This may sound like the same thing as losing weight, but actually, it’s not. When I say improve your diet, what I mean is to focus on nutritional value rather than just cutting calories or filling an empty void. Increase your intake of highly nutritious foods by adding good things like fruits, veggies, and protein. At the same time, remove empty calories like chips, candy, sugar, excess sodium, and simple carbs. This may or may not result in weight loss (but it probably will) however the point is to fuel your body well with things that are good for it.

These general good-health practices can greatly improve not only your physical health but also your mental well-being.

Alternatives to stockpiling medication

If you absolutely cannot manage to stockpile medication in your regular prescription, here are some options.

Stock up on a different med. There could be a different medication that works in the same way. Perhaps that med isn’t as good as the one you’re taking but it might be better than nothing. See if you can get a prescription for the alternative to stash away. Also, if your doctor changes you to a new medication, don’t throw the old one away. Put it back for just-in-case so you aren’t left completely high and dry.

See an osteopath. This is a money-intensive choice because, often, insurance companies won’t work with osteopathic doctors or naturopathic doctors. But if you can afford it, you may find that a DO (doctor of osteopathic medicine) is easier to work with. One of the things they do differently than the conventional system is to listen to their patients. Generally, they spend more time in appointments and work with you to find solutions. DOs can prescribe conventional meds but can also help you to get free of those meds with lifestyle choices, diet, and supplements.

Look into natural remedies. Again, don’t make changes without the advice of your doctor. (I have to keep saying this if I don’t want to be actionably on the wrong side of the FDA.) But in the days before modern medicine, we had to do something to manage chronic illness, right? Look into options for natural remedies and stock up on those, even if you don’t change to them right now. There could be a tincture, a capsule, or a tea that will help if your medication is no longer available. Check out Cat Ellis’s course for more information.

See if there’s a nutritional solution. Some illnesses respond well to specific dietary plans. For example, I have a good friend who completely turned around her diabetes by following the Keto plan. I know another person who switched to Paleo to improve fatty liver disease. We all know that reducing sodium intake helps manage blood pressure. I’m not recommending a specific diet – do your own research and see what kind of nutritional plan might help you manage your own health concerns.

What do you in order to stockpile medication?

How do you stockpile medication? Do you have any strategies that have helped you reduce your dependence on prescription meds? Do you have any suggestions not mentioned here?

Let’s discuss it in the comments section.

About Daisy

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, adventure-seeking, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites.  1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty; 2)  The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived; and 3), an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. Her work is widely republished across alternative media and she has appeared in many interviews.

Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books, 12 self-published books, and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses at SelfRelianceand You can find her on FacebookPinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.

Picture of Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites.  1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, 2)  The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived, and 3), an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. She is widely republished across alternative media and  Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses. You can find her on FacebookPinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.

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  • Great article! I use several of these ideas except no doctors I see will ever give me “extra” of anything. Years ago I took tramadol for fibromyalgia and then suddenly no doctor would prescribe it. I was basically forced to stop taking it.
    Luckily I can skip a day or two of the meds I now take so I end up with extras each month; however that’s not the case for most people.

  • What I’ll do is when I get a refill if there’s an “overlap” and I’m not fully out, out the few aside in a labeled date of expiration bottle. Over time you can build up a bit but keep up the the doe’s. Some months change out your backup entirely with “fresh” and label accordingly.

  • D0’s are the same as MD’s in the United States. Their privilege to prescribe medication is no different. For ND’s(naturopathic doctors) it varies among the states.

  • I have no health insurance following losing my job for refusing the Covid mRNA shot, so I make occasional trips to Mexico. While there, I go to the dentist, get new eyeglasses if needed, and visit the pharmacy where I can buy my blood pressure medication over the counter for much less than the cash price in the USA.

    The cost of airfare from a southern city nonstop to Cancun is more than compensated for by the savings and convenience.

  • I am on only 3 prescription meds. After the initial shortages, I asked my doctors for a one-time six-month supply and told them I understand that I have to pay out of pocket. They ALL did that for me. Now, I have rotated those in and always have a six-month supply on hand.

    As for lifestyle changes, I am paralyzed from the chest down. However, I too put on the covid 15. I have begun intermittent fasting (started in January) and have dropped 14+ pounds. I plan to drop 15 more. If I can do it while sitting virtually every minute, everyone can.

    I also recently got my 25-year-old tennis wheelchair returned to me and have started playing pickleball. I am 65 years old.

    I hope this encourages some of you to do what you can to get healthy.

  • After discussing my meds with my doctor and my local pharmacist, I decided to get a prescription for 1000 pills of my blood pressure and cholesterol medications. This was the size of the bottles that the pharmacist gets. I had to pay cash, I pay between $115-125 and got both Rx for that price. The pharmacist said that the pills I take are good for 8-10 years. My doctor said many people did that before insurance got into the picture. He is about 80 and I have known the pharmacist all my life.

  • You can order certain medications online without a prescription if the websites are from outside the U.S. Some of these places are in India, and there’s a big one in the South Pacific called They carry most anything that is not a controlled drug or an injectable. The price and availability is decent, and these are all legally manufactured, legitimate medications. You can stock up on antibiotics, heart meds, diabetes drugs etc., though I strongly recommend the advice above about first focusing on exercise and weight loss with a nutrient-dense diet.

    • I concur with Fran. I purchase meds from and have had excellent results. The prices are dirt cheap compared to USA, even when paying out of pocket. One tip: vendors on that website will “bid” for what meds you are looking for so don’t take the first response, wait a day and compare all offers. Even haggle back, if that’s your thing, and get an even cheaper price.

    • @Fran: You need to be very careful about getting meds from other countries: I’ve heard that some companies will sell old, not up to standard, compromised (read contaminated) meds to other countries that would not be sellable in the US. I believe this is horrible, but it IS true.

      You certainly don’t want to get medicine that isn’t clean and the correct dosage just to get a bit ahead.

      The suggestions in the post are good ones, I have used the buy without insurance one, and my Naturopath has since reduced my pills, but kept the old Rx to give me extras.

      Even pills through the US have been contaminated by toxic ingredients, that’s probably why some become unavailable without notice: they found toxic ingredients in some from overseas. Has happened with metformin (which I take)

      • I’m actually not sure this is true, at least about the meds in Mexico, and bear with me while I explain why.

        As a lot of readers know, I lived in Mexico for a year. While there I greatly increased my personal pharmacy with OTC meds that require a prescription in the US. Not only were they readily available for the asking, but they were dirt cheap. I’ve used some and so have family members, as needed over the years since living there and everything has been safe and effective. Interestingly, many of the labels said that the meds I bought for pennies on the dollar there were actually made in the US! But here, for the same med, we’d pay 10x as much if not more!

        Now obviously that’s anecdotal but here’s why I’m suspicious of this. The government doesn’t want us having easy access to things that allow us to be independent of the medical system, the insurance scam, the massive amount of money those things make, and all the control that lies therein. Mexico is a hop, skip, and a jump away. It’s super-easy to go there and get what you need. Of COURSE they’d want to discourage it because it totally negates their message that we NEED them to strictly manage our medications for us. And the best way to do that is to say, “Oh, look! They don’t have a governing body like ours and you’re going to end up with fentanyl in your heart pills! SCARY!!!!”

        I could be wrong, and I’m sure there are also scams in Mexico. But the real meds are so cheap down there, why would they need to scam? Dangerous drugs are expensive. Why would they switch them out? As for cleanliness, most of the medications I purchashed were sold in bubble packs and had all the appropriate package inserts. I believe that most meds are fine. I wouldn’t go buy a bottle of penicillin off some dude on the street but in a legitimate pharmacy, I have no problem doing so.

        • Daisy:
          I agree with you on the reliability of out-of-country medications and the financial reason for the stories of bad medications.
          As with anything, there are reliable vendors and not-so-reliable ones. As best as possible, make sure of who you are dealing with. Since many drugs in the US are made in India, Mexico, and other countries, the reliability should not be, and I have never found it to be, an issue. A friend of mine gets her meds from India and the company sends information sheets on the source companies and includes photos and dates of manufacture, etc. prior to purchase. In three years she has never had an issue. When the meds arrive they are in packaging that shows they were intended for US or British markets as there is sometimes retail pricing on the packages that shows that the item was just bought for $2.00 but had a retail price on it of $280.00
          Use caution when purchasing any meds online or even in person. Remember that in the US there have been hundreds of medications recalled for being unsafe.

  • From the first visit I let them know that I can get them (from insurance) for 90 days and that is what I need. So far, NO problems, however if I want any more then yes, I must pay for them myself. I only take 1 a day for moderate high blood pressure and I turned 75 in Feb.

    • Is that true for your insurance? For all insurance? How did you find out you can get Rx filled for a 90 day supply?

  • My wife takes Dexamethasone for the past 59 years….keeps her alive (which is a good thing). Her normal prescription was 30 pills (1 a day). Since the beginning of the Scamdemic, she now gets 90 pills. It also helps that her pills are dirt cheap @ a dime a pill ($9.00 for 90 pills) and that’s without insurance.
    She knows that if the STHF…….the countdown clock starts to run on her life.

  • Jace Case offers emergency antibiotics and now your regular perscription meds. You can get a years worth.

    • Best way is to keep them cool and dry. A stable environment is essential. Many meds come in sealed foil packages that keep them from the elements. Others are in sealed top plastic bottles. Don’t open the packages until ready for use.
      A good add on for storage is to vacuum seal them. Separate your meds into as small a unit as you can without opening the foils or seals, say 30 day supply per package. Vacuum seal each and date. Adding some literature on use to each package would help in the future to remind you how to use. I keep a binder with the med information in it so I don’t have to reply on the internet. Each med has a complete use sheet, side effects, off label use information, and other medications that can be used in case I run out.
      Always store your med supply in a cool, dark, dry place out of reach of children, pets, and pests.

  • Do you have any suggestions not mentioned here? Yes, hypothetically speaking, if you had a procedure like a thyroidectomy, tell your doctor that if there is a supply-chain shortage of medicine or some kind of natural disaster, that you need to build-up a stockpile of your medicine. Suggest to the doctor to write two different scripts, one for the insurance and the other for an out-of-pocket 90-day supply. After doing that several times, you will have a 12+ month surplus of medicine. Most doctors will understand.

  • If you can, enroll with a mail order pharmacy. They are required to mail the medication early, so that the patient does not run out of medicine. Many things can delay the arrival of the medicine. For example: having to contact the doctor for a renewed prescription, the doctor is on vacation and the pharmacy has to wait, severe weather and the snail mail is delayed, having to confirm with the patient if they want the refill, etc, etc. So some pharmacies will try to mail the meds out as much as 2 weeks early. And guess what, frequently there are no problems! You get the prescription almost 2 weeks early. But you are still working on the first bottle! As the year goes by, the pharmacy keeps sending the refills. Just let them do their thing. As long as the insurance company covers it and the doctor does not object, you are fine! Getting near the end of the year, all 4 refills have been dispensed. The pharmacy now must get the med renewed with a new prescription with 4 more refills. So you usually end up getting 5 refills a year! As the years go by you can build up a large stockpile. Put the date of refill on top of the bottle cap. Rotate the bottles so that the “oldest” script will be used first. You know- First In, First Out. Your meds will always be fresh and in date! And it was all done legally.

    • The problem with mail order is if the carrier makes a mistake, and says it has been delivered, but was to wrong address, you can’t get a replacement, because the USPS tracking says it was delivered. My daughter had this issue multiple times with meds she desperately needed, and couldn’t get because the USPS said it was delivered but she never got it.

  • I’ve come to accept that once certain medications are no longer available, my end will come within a few weeks at the most. I’ve stockpiled what I can, but it’s increasingly difficult to find a Provider that is sympathetic to Prepping.

    • Mr Berserker. Check Jase medical,com as others have mentioned on here. Ive used them. You can order practically anything except narcotics and a few others

    • Check for your medication. As long as it is not an opioid, they will probably be able to source it to you. Check the various offers before purchasing.

  • There is no reason to ever discard old medications except tetracyclines and liquid medications. An old antibiotic pill or capsule could be worth more than gold some day. They cost nothing to keep instead of discarding them and don’t take much space to save. I rotate my old medications when possible just like my food pantry.

  • Very nice post. I have tried a couple of the suggestions, but a couple were new ideas for me. I am on 3 meds and have a great Naturopath who will work with me to get a store of medicine I need.
    Thank you!

  • 1. Lose the health insurance–it is a set of shackles disguised as a benefit. 2. Take charge of your health and stop “asking your doctor”. Do your own research of your own health problems. 3. Go to a direct-pay physician and know what meds you want before you go. Answer all questions knowing you’re creating a tracking database. Don’t give more info than necessary and no how to articulate your complaint so that you get the right treatment. 4. Refuse to have your prescription sent directly to a pharmacy but get a hard copy. Keep yourself in the loop so that you don’t become a commodity traded between docs and pharms. The script monkey works for you. Find a different one if necessary. 5. Shop for online pharmacy. Be creative in how you get your scripts filled. 6. Never shop at the big drug chains. 7. Go to Mexico and fill up if you can. 8. Don’t throw away unused meds.

  • ExpressScripts is a NGO that is ripping off the Government, at our expense.
    Try to get Eliquis without it costing you an arm and leg and some extraneous other parts. I tried indiamart, and their Apixaban is manufactured by Pfizer, instead of Bristol-Myers Squibb, and they couldn’t even spell it correctly on the packaging: Apiksaban. I think it wouldn’t be the real thing.
    I’m going to give the, as suggested by Fran, a try.
    At least the box that they show on the pic is just like the real box from the pharmacy.
    This is a life-saving medication, and without it, one small clot will stop an artificial heart valve. When the electric grid goes down, when you run out of this medicine, you are living on borrowed time…
    As such are some of the blessings, of Living Beyond the Promise! 🙂
    Old Duffer

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