Website gives Florida residents prescriptions without a visit to the doctor's office

Posted at 8:03 PM, Apr 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-13 08:48:57-04

There's a way for people who live in Florida to get prescription medications for common illnesses without an office visit. The website "Lemonaid" boasts providing easy, affordable access to needed medications within just a couple of hours.

Lemonaid offers help for seven conditions: Acid reflux, acne, the flu, hair loss, sinus infection, erectile dysfunction and urinary tract infection. The site also allows women to order birth control pills.

But some doctors say it's a "quick fix" that draws concerns. 

"If you're going to order something from Amazon and it gets to you right away, that's great," said former Medical Society of Palm Beach County President Dr. James Goldenberg. "In medical care, there's a lot of complexity."
Dr. Goldenberg calls the site a new take on telemedicine.

"It really developed for care for people that don't have access," he said, "for people in rural areas." 

But Lemonaid's doctors say it's all about convenience. The site asks users to fill out a questionnaire about their symptoms or needs. 

"We pick conditions where our patients kind of know the symptoms that they have," said Dr. Brendan Levy, one of the five MDs who review answers on the sire and call in prescriptions from Lemonaid's headquarters in San Francisco. "It's usually they kind of suspect what's wrong with them."

Patients must be 18 or older to use the site.

Dr. Levy says Lemonaid's doctors don't prescribe any narcotics, controlled substances or addictive medications. He says if a patient gives any answers that raise a red flag, his team won't prescribe the medication and will send the patient to see a doctor in person.

Dr. Goldenberg says that's not enough.

"Medicines are by prescription for a design," he said. "The only way to safely prescribe them is with a real encounter with a doctor."

Dr. Goldenberg cited part of Florida's Telemedicine Policy, reading:

"Prescribing medications based solely on an electronic medical questionnaire constitutes the  failure to practice medicine with that level of care, skill, and treatment which is recognized by reasonably prudent physicians as being acceptable..."

Dr. Levy says Lemonaid considers the site's required web-cam photo as an exam.

"We're seeing who we're treating," he said.

Lemonaid is currently only available in Florida and 13 other states, but Levy says he and his team plan to expand.

To access Lemonade Health, click here