Due to Risk, Mail Order Pharmacy Is NOT Your Next Netflix & Blockbuster
When Blockbuster movie rentals closed and people began ordering from Netflix and Redbox, people didn't have to risk their lives to get a movie. When people order Christmas gifts or toilet paper from Amazon, it will not be life-threatening if the Christmas package or movie is stolen, damaged, delayed, or stored improperly. If your toilet paper is late, it may be an inconvenience, but you will live. Unlike mail-order pharmacy, people are not risking their lives when watching movies online or ordering simple household goods online. When a patient uses mail-order pharmacy and their life depends on medications to work properly or to be taken at a certain time, they are most certainly placing their lives in the hands of the delivery truck service.
When it comes to mail-order pharmacy, patients with chronic conditions often have to risk their lives to get medications and the care they need. Today, many patients are only offered coverage if they use mail-order pharmacy. Any delay in medication can be a patients life such as in the case of transplant patients like my son or for patients with many other chronic conditions.
Patients going days without the medications their lives depend on due to forced mail-order pharmacy and unexpected issues that arise (thefts, damages, delays) is an occurrence that is shared daily on social media pages. There can also be a major disruption to productivity and ability to function when it comes to delays in psychiatric medications. With each shipment, the risk of the package being destroyed, mishandled, stolen or delayed are a real threat to a patient's health. Should patients with chronic conditions really be forced to only use mail-order as their only option to receive their life-saving medications? Most cannot afford the 100% out of pocket they would have to pay in order to get their medications at their local pharmacy.
Thanks to the petitions on change.org, there is much discussion about mail-order pharmacy and temperatures of medications now with a heightened awareness that the back of UPS trucks, USPS trucks, and Fed Ex trucks are not any more temperature-controlled than your car sitting in the sun on the hottest and coldest days of the year. As patients compare their temperature storage guidelines on the medication bottle or package insert against the temperatures up to 170 degrees that these trucks are known to reach, they are finally beginning to raise eyebrows.
As people are only allowed coverage to mail-order pharmacies, many brick and mortar pharmacies close. This will leave many rural areas underserved. Recently in Ohio alone, over 160 pharmacies closed their doors mostly due to mail order and unfair reimbursement practices to our independent pharmacists (Candisky, 2018).
Example, CVS Health has merged with an insurance company, owns its own mail-order pharmacy and what is called Pharmacy Benefits Manager (PBM). The PBM reimburses pharmacies for our medications and have been cited many times paying their own CVS pharmacies much more than they do our independent and community pharmacies at the same time their PBM pockets a little extra. This was all done in secret until recent exposure to these issues in the state of Ohio (Candisky, 2018). There is not a reason why they cannot allow the same copay and reimbursement for us to use our independent pharmacies.
Unlike the replacement of Blockbuster with Netflix, the closing down of pharmacies will have real life-threatening consequences to communities. The comments on this petition and our experiences are real proof.
*******Pharmacies do more than just fill our prescriptions********
For some towns, their independent/community pharmacy may be the only health provider for many miles. They often safely deliver medications in temperature-controlled vehicles for FREE. Some pharmacists can administer vaccines. In some states, pharmacists can work in collaboration with a physician to provide a certain level of monitoring and education to conditions such as high cholesterol and diabetes. They often get to know patients beyond their healthcare issues and have an understanding of how certain social-economic barriers can prohibit patients from getting the medications they need. Independent and community pharmacists who are not under corporate control often provides services outside of medication administration that are tailored to a need in a community. For example, one pharmacist who I've connected with recently provides free counseling to help seniors select the plans that will cover their medications. Additionally, some medications are not just pills. Some medications can be difficult to use the first time, and the face to face education is important. This is by far the complete list of what our independent and community pharmacies do for patients. When mail-order pharmacies delay medications, there may not be another pharmacy to go to. Especially, if our trusted pharmacies closed down. I hope you will contact your legislatures and tell them to support independent and community pharmacists!
Thank you for your support,
Candisky, Catherine, et al. “Three CVS Actions Raise Concerns for Some Pharmacies, Consumers.” The Columbus Dispatch, The Columbus Dispatch, 15 Apr. 2018, www.dispatch.com/news/20180415/three-cvs-actions-raise-concerns-for-some-pharmacies-consumers