Duration Health

We take our mission and responsibility seriously.

Read on for answers to the most common questions about our product. We are always available at [email protected] to address your questions.

Yes. It’s common practice for doctors to write prescriptions for patients to have on hand and use in the future if necessary. This practice is called advance prescribing, also known as prophylactic prescribing or empiric self-treatment.

The prescribed medications must be medically appropriate for the patient (for example, the patient must not be allergic to the medication and must not have an existing medical problem that is a contraindication to the medication).

Furthermore, the patient must understand when the medications should and should not be used.

If you’ve traveled internationally, your family doctor may have prescribed you antibiotics for you to bring with you and take only if you got sick. [1]

If you’ve ever been worried about getting pregnant, your doctor may have prescribed you emergency contraception to have on hand at home in case of unprotected sex. [2]

If you’ve ever been at risk of complications from the flu, your doctor may have prescribed you Tamiflu (oseltamivir) to take as prophylaxis before symptoms develop. [3] Our practice follows these established standards of care.

Please see the sections on Use and Misuse

Yes. Duration Health follows in the tradition of other online healthcare companies like Nurx, Hims, and Lemonaid Health, just to name a few, that address health complaints online, provide video consult doctor visits, and write prescriptions.

In our prescribing, we abide by state and federal regulations regarding online prescribing, including limitations on controlled substances, which we do not prescribe.

See also Who can buy a Duration Health bag?

Similar to other companies that write prescriptions online, Duration Health contracts with physicians and advance practice practicioners (e.g. PAs and NPs) licensed in each U.S. state to write prescriptions. You'll know who is writing your prescriptions, because you'll meet them via video chat during your purchase.

See also Buying a Bag

Orders are fulfilled by a fully licensed, U.S. based mail-order pharmacy that specializes in filling prescriptions by mail for online telehealth companies such as ours. We send prescriptions electronically to our pharmacy partner, and they dispense, package and ship your medications.

Our partner pharmacy is a fully licensed and regulated U.S. pharmacy. They are VIPPS certified by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, LegitScript certified, and URAC accredited.

No, different companies manufacture the various medications. However, we source all of the medications through a single pharmacy (see above).

At this time, we are limiting purchase of our bags to individuals with first responder certification. The list of certifications we accept is broad, and includes CPR certification, EMT, Paramedic, and professional medical degrees or licenses such as RN and MD.

Sale is limited to people living in certain states. See additional information below.

Because we're a medical practice, we have to complete separate paperwork and create separate corporate structures to practice medicine in each state and therefore to sell bags in each state.

At the moment, we expect to ship bags to New York, California and Pennsylvania in fall 2019. We're working to expand this list as quickly as possible.

The fastest way to get us to ship to your state is to reserve a bag, as we will prioritize states where we receive the most demand.

By selling you a bag, and writing you the prescriptions for the medications in the bag, we need to know that you are medically savvy enough to know how to use these medications safely and effectively.

We have found that a first responder certificate is an effective and widely available indicator that you meet this standard.

We use first responder certification as a guideline, but we do occasionally make exceptions. If you don't hold a first responder certification, but would like to buy a bag anyway, please contact us at [email protected] and explain why.

As an alternative, consider obtaining an online CPR certification. The American Red Cross offers classes for $30. We don't endorse any particular class, but we do believe everyone should know the basics needed to safe a life.

Once you submit an order for your bag, you'll complete an automated interview process online so we can gather some basic information about your medical history.

Once you've completed the automated interview, you'll schedule a face-to-face consultation with one of our providers via videoconference.

After your videoconference, assuming all medications you've selected are medically appropriate for you, your bag purchase will be confirmed, your card will be charged, and your bag will ship. If any changes to your bag are required following your video consult, the price of your bag will be updated accordingly, with your prior approval.

Your card will be charged only after your video consultation, once the contents of your bag is finalized.

Bag prices listed on our site are are "all-in" and include a soft carrying case, an online consultation with a provider, prescriptions, and shipping and handling.

No. All Duration Health products are direct-to-consumer only and cash pay; we do not accept health insurance. You may find that your Health Spending Account, if you have one, will reimburse you for the cost of our bag, but this depends on the insurance and would be your responsibility to investigate after purchasing from us.

We offer full refunds for any reason up until the time your bag ships. Once your bag ships, purchases are nonrefundable for regulatory reasons.

Per our pharmacy, all medications have a published shelf life of 1 year.

Using medications after their published shelf life is controversial, and we discourage this practice.

See also Pharmacy and Medications

One course of each medication is provided. For example, when treating a skin infection, a standard regimen is amoxicillin-clavulanate twice per day for 7 days, for a total of 14 tabs, and that's the amount of amoxicillin-clavulanate we provide.

The specific course, amount, and strength provided for each medication is listed in the detail page of each medication, under "When should I use it?"

If you're seeking more of a particular medication, discuss this with your provider at the time of your video visit.

None of the bags include every item in our formulary.

Certain specialty items are applicable to special situations only. Contact [email protected] to discuss purchasing these items.

Pain medications such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen are included. We do not provide opioids or other controlled substances.

You'll have the chance to talk with one of our Duration Health providers before finalizing your bag. That conversation serves to ensure that the medications you're choosing are safe for you, but also allows you to consult with an expert if you're not sure what you need.

Email us anytime at [email protected] if you need help getting started choosing a bag.

The medications and supplies we offer at Duration Health were chosen based on established guidelines (such as the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines), expert opinion, and our mission to improve public safety by enabling medical preparation for disasters. We've tried to select items whose potential life-saving benefits outweigh their potential harms.

We've also intentionally excluded common medical and non-medical items you'll find in other kits, like ACE bandages or water purification tablets. These items are essential, but we're focused on our niche of medical products you can't find elsewhere, particularly prescription medications.

We would love to hear your suggestions on improving the list of items we offer. Drop us a note at [email protected].

EPINEPHrine (EpiPen®) is one of a handful of drugs where having it immediately available can mean the difference between life and death. Anaphylaxis, which is treated with epinephrine, can happen without warning even in people with no history of allergies, or with a history of only minor alleriges.

It's a good idea to have these types of life-saving, no-substitute items on hand in a disaster. Other items meeting these criteria include naloxone (reverses opioid overdose), Duodote® (nerve gas antidote), Truvada® and Isentress® (prevent contraction of HIV after exposure to that virus), and an automated external defibrillator (AED) (reverse cardiac arrest). Unfortunately, some of these items are expensive, but we offer them anyway because of their life-saving potential.

Every bag comes with online and printed educational materials explaining the appropriate use of each medication or supply, risks and benefits of use, and when to avoid use. Furthermore, medications in the bag have been specifically chosen for their low risk of complications and low toxicity, and have a long track record of safety.

Our treatment protocols are based on well-established nursing triage and emergency medical services protocols, with clear instructions in emergency scenarios when no doctor is available.

Allergic reactions are a possibility with any medication. All Bags include first-line medications to self-treat an allergic reaction should one occur.

Your provider will discuss potential side effects with you and when you should discontinue use of a medication.

Use of any medication is associated with some degree of risk. We believe that in an emergency situation, the benefits of having these medications immediately available to you and your family outweigh the potential risks.

Duration Health providers are only available for consultation at the time of your purchase to help you select and obtain the medications and supplies in your bag. We do not provide a medical “hotline” nor do we provide any ongoing clinical support beyond basic customer service typical of any online retailer.

We believe there is a cultural and societal bias that causes some people to presuppose that medications are so dangerous that the average person can't be trusted with them, as opposed to other potentially-dangerous-but-useful tools, like cars or weapons.

We recognize that any prescription, whether written by a small-town doctor or an online provider, has the potential to be misused. Nonetheless, at Duration Health, we believe you should be empowered to take care of your own health. We further believe that a doctor’s job is not to be a paternalistic gatekeeper, but an educator, collaborator, and partner in your well-being.

As part of your evaluation by our providers, we’ll ask you questions to ensure you understand the risks and benefits of the medications and supplies you’ll receive. We’ll ask you to agree that you'll use these products for their intended purpose only. And, like any provider, we refuse the right to prescribe to those in whom we feel it would be inappropriate. These steps help protect our providers and allow us to focus on educating you, giving you the tools you need, and trusting that you’ll use them appropriately. But beyond these basic steps, we’ll deliver you the tools you need and then get out of the way.

Indeed, medications can be dangerous, and you do need certain knowledge to use our bags appropriately. However, you certainly don't need to go to medical school to learn the basics of safe use of the medications we provide.

Our product isn't appropriate for everyone. But it is appropriate for many people who are not doctors, including people with minimal medical training.

See also Who can buy a Duration Health bag?

It’s estimated that 1 in 3 antibiotic prescriptions are written inappropriately, most often for common colds, viral sore throats, and other upper respiratory infections that do not respond to antibiotics. These 47 million inappropriate prescriptions per year result not only in antibiotic resistance, but in allergic reactions, diarrhea, and other unnecessary complications. [4]

Unlike the inappropriate antibiotic prescriptions written in the community, we anticipate that most of the antibiotic prescriptions written by Duration Health providers will never be used, as our bag is designed and sold specifically for emergencies only. In addition to agreeing to restrictions on use, bag recipients receive education on when antibiotics are and are not appropriate.

As discussed elsewhere in this FAQ, we recognize that any prescription, whether written by a small-town doctor or an online provider, has the potential to be misused. However, the public health benefit we provide via emergency access to potentially life-saving medications greatly outweighs the potential public health risk from those who would choose to misuse these medications.

In a break from the traditional physician-as-gatekeeper model, YOU become the steward of these antibiotics when you buy our bags.

See also How can you trust someone other than a doctor to use these medications correctly?

Our medications are specifically chosen for their safety profile. Acetaminophen (Tylenol), available at any drug store, is more dangerous in overdose than nearly every medication we provide.

Any prescription has the potential to be misused. We believe that the public health benefit we provide via emergency access to potentially life-saving medications greatly outweighs the potential public health risk from those who would choose to misuse these medications.

See also How can you trust someone other than a doctor to use these medications correctly?

Duration Health was founded in 2018.

Contact us at [email protected]