(Washington, DC)— In Medicare Part D, only 1% of dispensed medication is not taken by patients, mainly due to changes in therapy and other issues unrelated to whether a drugstore or a mail-service pharmacy dispensed the medication, according to a new study from Visante released by the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA). In fact, the vast majority of wastage cases involve fills from drugstores, not mail-service pharmacies.

“From day one, the ‘wastage’ issue has been a red-herring pushed by the drugstore lobby to undermine mail-service pharmacy in public and private programs,” said PCMA President and CEO Mark Merritt. “This report finally puts that myth to bed. The truth is patients and payers want more—not less—access to home delivery because it’s more convenient and affordable.”

Major findings from the study—“Myths and Realities of Medication Waste in Medicare Part D“—include:

  • Less than 1% of all medications dispensed for Medicare beneficiaries are wasted.
  • More than two-thirds of medication wasted in Medicare is dispensed by drugstores.
  • Mail-service pharmacies are typically used only after a patient has already been stabilized on several 30-day prescriptions dispensed by a local drugstore.
  • Waste related to mail-service “auto-refill” prescriptions accounts for just 0.02% of medication dispensed in Part D.

Read the study.

In addition to greater convenience, mail-service pharmacies can save Medicare seniors, employers, unions, government employee plans, consumers, and other commercial-sector payers $46.6 billion in prescription drug costs over the next ten years, according to a recent study. Compared to brick-and-mortar drugstores, mail-service pharmacies offer deeper discounts and reduced copays.

According to a recent survey, eight-out-of-ten small businesses want to be able to continue offering discounts that encourage employees to use the more affordable mail-service pharmacy option and consumers who use home delivery are strongly satisfied with it.