February 21, 2012
(Washington, DC)— Mail-service pharmacies will save 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 new research from Visante released by the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA). The research also finds that legislation prohibiting health plan sponsors from offering consumers lower copays on mail-service prescriptions can decrease use – and savings – by more than 50% for plan sponsors.
“In this economy, consumers and payers need every cost saving tool they can get and mail-service pharmacy is at the top of the list,” said PCMA President and CEO Mark Merritt.
Major findings on mail-service savings from the new research include:
Compared to brick-and-mortar drugstores, mail-service pharmacies offer deeper discounts and reduced copays. This generates substantial savings:
- Mail-service pharmacies will save $46.6 billion nationally for employers, unions, government employee plans, consumers, and other commercial-sector payers over the next ten years.
- Mail-service pharmacies save consumers and payers an average of 15% on 90-day prescriptions compared to 90-day prescriptions obtained at brick-and-mortar drugstores.
- Mail-service pharmacies save consumers and payers an average of $22 per 90-day prescription compared to the same prescription obtained at a drugstore.
Major findings on the cost of restrictions on mail-service pharmacies include:
When state or federal laws or regulations place restrictions or prohibitions on the use of mail-service pharmacies, savings are threatened:
- Laws or regulations that prohibit health plan sponsors from offering consumers lower copays on mail-service prescriptions can decrease mail-service pharmacy use – and savings – by more than 50% for plan sponsors.
- Each 1 percentage point decrease in the use of mail-service pharmacies nationally would increase prescription costs by $2.3 billion over ten years for consumers and commercial-sector payers.
- Across the country, all types of pharmacies – including independents – are filling an increasing number of prescriptions, indicating broad consumer access to all pharmacies and no rationale for restrictions on mail-service pharmacies.
Home delivery is popular with patients because it offers 90-day prescriptions that are less expensive and is more convenient than driving to the drugstore. Nearly 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. With mail-service pharmacies, patients can get private counseling over the phone from trained pharmacists seven days a week, 24-hours a day.