Can You Buy IV Bags Over the Counter? IV Fluids? Answered

You cannot purchase IV bags and fluids over the counter. Sterile saline (typically a 0.9% sodium chloride solution[1]) administered intravenously requires a prescription from a doctor.[2]

IV bags containing sterile saline require a prescription because they may pose some health risks to those using them. A sterile saline solution can sometimes prompt a severe allergic reaction, and users face the risk of vein damage or infection if an IV needle is inserted incorrectly or an IV catheter is left in for too long.[3][4]

We found multiple medical supply websites that sell sodium chloride in IV bags, but you’ll need a prescription to purchase them. Any attempt to purchase an IV bag filled with sterile saline without a prescription may put you in violation of federal law.

Where to Find IV Bags (With a Prescription)

If you have a prescription from your doctor, the best place to buy IV bags and fluids is at a local medical supply store. You can also ask your physician for a supplier recommendation. Other options include medical supply websites (like those mentioned below) and independent medical supply stores located near hospitals. You might want to check with your insurer ahead of time to see if it will cover the cost of your prescription IV bags.

Bound Tree Medical, a medical supply distributor, states on its sales page for sodium chloride 0.9% IV bags that it requires doctor or pharmacist authorization for the purchase of any prescription drugs or medical devices.[5]

Additionally, Emergency Medical Products, an emergency medical equipment supplier, states on its sales page for IV bags that per federal law, it needs a completed License Authorization Form (LAF) signed by a doctor before you can purchase IV bags.[6]

Even veterinary supply distributors, which offer the exact same IV bags, won’t sell them without a prescription. Heartland Veterinary Supply and Pharmacy has a disclaimer on its sales page for sodium chloride 0.9% injection bags noting that a prescription is required for the item.[7]

If you’re feeling under the weather and looking for some over-the-counter remedies, we have the list of 24-hour pharmacies and those that are open late.