Seniors Sour on Mandatory Mail-Order Drug Plans

Published Online: Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Medicare beneficiaries are concerned about a variety of consequences that could result from being required to fill prescriptions through a mail order pharmacy, according to the results of a survey conducted by MENTORx on behalf of the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA). The survey was mailed to a random sample of 6500 Medicare patients, 669 of whom responded from November to December 2012.

Overall, 63% of respondents were concerned they would lose the ability to use the pharmacy of their choice and 55% were concerned they would lose the ability to work with a trusted pharmacist if required to fill prescriptions by mail. In addition, 41% were concerned about medication waste generated through mail order and 83% would be opposed to mandatory use of mail order pharmacies if it caused their community pharmacy to close.

In all, 57% of respondents had used a mail order pharmacy at least once. Respondents who currently get their prescriptions filled by mail reported speaking with a mail order pharmacist just 2.1 times per year. In open-ended remarks, respondents expressed concern about prescriptions getting lost or not arriving in a timely manner via mail as well as poor customer service from mail order pharmacies.

“Patients deserve a choice and they don’t like being told which pharmacy they have to use,” said NCPA Chief Executive Officer B. Douglas Hoey, RPh, MBA, in a press release. “The findings of this survey should be a significant red flag for policymakers.”

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