April 22, 2010

(Washington, DC) — A United States Postal Service (USPS) proposal that would reduce delivery of mail to five days could negatively impact the millions of Americans with chronic conditions who rely on the convenience and value provided by mail-service pharmacies, the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA) said in letters sent to U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Edolphus Towns (D-NY) and U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs Chairman Joseph Lieberman (I-CT).

“About 1-in-6 prescriptions that are home delivered arrive on Saturday. Consumers count on getting their prescriptions at the right time and often can’t wait an additional two days, or even three days in the case of federal holidays that fall on a Monday,” said PCMA President and CEO Mark Merritt.

Government and independent studies have examined the increased savings, safety, and adherence provided by mail-service pharmacies. That research includes:

  • Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC found that mail-order pharmacies provide more savings than retail pharmacies.
  • Pharmacotherapy: Official Journal of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy. Peer reviewed data found that highly automated mail-service pharmacies dispensed prescriptions with 23-times greater accuracy than retail pharmacies. The mail-service error rate was zero in several of the most critical areas, including dispensing the correct drug, dosage, and dosage form.
  • Harvard University. Independent, peer-reviewed research conducted by Harvard University and published in 2004 by Health Affairs, analyzed some 670 million prescription drug claims and concluded that generic drug substitution rates at PBM mail-service pharmacies were slightly higher than at retail pharmacies.
  • American Journal of Managed Care. Consumers receiving their prescription medications for chronic conditions through a mail-service pharmacy “were more likely to take them as prescribed by their doctors than did patients who obtained them from a local pharmacy,” according to the study. The study also found that 84.7 percent of patients who received their medications by mail at least two-thirds of the time stuck to their physician-prescribed regimen versus 76.9 percent who picked up their medications at “brick and mortar” Kaiser Permanente pharmacies.

Read the press release.