New To myMercy? Click Here to read our "How To" guide!
To view current volunteer opportunities, Click Here!

Acquiring enough prescription medication for extended posting

Hi all,

I'll be serving for four months aboard the Africa Mercy, starting in December. I'm super excited and very much looking forward to my time aboard. One main difficulty I have encountered is the issue of navigating medication/insurance/pharmacy rules on getting prescriptions that I will need for the length of my stay. As most medications come in 30-day and (rarely) 90-day supply, I'm not sure how I can get enough of the medicines I take on a daily basis to take with me for the entire duration of the ship (even if I were to fill them all immediately before leaving). Insurance wise, I recently encountered an issue with my prescribed malaria prophylaxis, as it is only covered in 30-day intervals by insurance. To pay for the rest out of pocket is over $600USD, yikes! I thought, surely this is not an issue unique to myself, so I was wondering if anyone knew of what my options are (I am in the US if that's important). 

Much appreciated,



  • SandyHewittSandyHewitt Posts: 11
    Hi Jasmin,

    My name is Sandy Hewitt and I am the Senior Pharmacist on the Africa Mercy.  As you are already aware, we ask that you bring 3 months of medications with you when you come to the ship.  As our pharmacy orders arrive by shipping container, it can take the pharmacy up to three months to order and receive medications on board.  Because we are not usually aware of your medication needs before you arrive, this gives us time to order and receive the medication you would require after your initial 3 months' supply is used.

    As you can imagine, our pharmacy on board does not stock every medication you might expect to find at home.  You can check with the pharmacy on the ship by emailing  [email protected] .  

    As to the Malarone, if you come without a three month supply, the pharmacy would charge you the full price here on the ship, just like at home.   If we subsidized the cost of Malarone for all crew coming to the ship without restriction, thousands of dollars would be spent on crew instead of patients.  I would suggest contacting your insurance company with regard to getting a larger supply.  It might also be possible to fund-raise for these extra costs.

     I hope that this is helpful and please don't hesitate to email us with any medication questions.

    Looking forward to serving with you!

  • BrendaBraxtonBrendaBraxton Posts: 24

    There is a website called where you can find the most inexpensive pharmacies to purchase medications, and download coupons. I have used this site for my Malarone for all three of my field services, and it cost me 1/3 of the usual cost. 

    I hope this helps,

  • SandyHewittSandyHewitt Posts: 11
    Thanks for that good information Brenda!!

  • Hi Jasmin,

    I too encountered this problem for the Malarone as my physician prescribed 3 months worth of medication, but the insurance would only pay for 30 pills at a time. Thankfully, I got the prescription 4 months in advance, so I was able to fill the prescription, wait 30 days then go an get the refill. I did this for two months and now have my 90 day supply. If you aren’t coming till December and your insurance will pay for the refills, you should be ok. I’m still trying to get my insurance to dispense a 90 day supply of a prescription med I need everyday but have to wait till I get closer to my departure date. The pharmacy told me the insurance may make an exception and give me a 90 day supply since I’m leaving the county. Not sure yet what proof, if any, they require to approve the 90 day supply.

  • JasminHuangJasminHuang Posts: 9

    Thanks for the tips! I managed to fill with a home-delivery pharmacy, but if I understand Sandy correctly, we only need the three-months and not the entire stay if we can't quite get it all, right?

  • Jasmin, I did the same thing as Sarah and found out I was still about 8 pills short so I just paid for them out of pocket and it wasn't that expensive. You might check with your pharmacy and shop around; they can always send over the prescription.

Sign In or Register to comment.