Saturday delivery of prescription meds will continue, USPS tells Duckworth

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Congress meanwhile mandates 6-day delivery schedule through September 30

Prescription medications will continue to be delivered on Saturday by a variety of shipping methods if the U.S. Postal Service’s (USPS) proposed 5-day delivery schedule is implemented, USPS wrote in an April 5 reply to a letter from Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and 88 House members urging continued 6-day prescription drug delivery.

“Products that will continue to be delivered on Saturday include Express Mail, Priority Mail, First-Class Mail Parcels, First-Class Package Service, Standard Post (formerly Parcel Post), Parcel Select, Parcel Select Lightweight, and select Inbound International Parcels,” wrote Jeremy Simmons, USPS Government Relations Representative, in the reply to Duckworth.

“The overwhelming bulk of prescriptions, pharmaceuticals, and other medicines delivered by mail are shipped using the products above. Shippers using other mail products (First-Class Mail flats, for example) for which Saturday street delivery is not planned would still have the option to use products for which such delivery will be provided,” Simmons explained.

USPS officials have met with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Consolidated Mail Outpatient Pharmacy and other pharmacies that ship medications to ensure that USPS understands their needs, according to the letter. USPS will continue to discuss any operational modifications that may be required and will provide specific guidance as plans develop for the proposed delivery schedule.

The point is moot for now, however. The modified new schedule, which would have taken effect on August 5, is on hold. Last month, Congress passed a continuing resolution mandating that USPS continue 6-day delivery for the remainder of the fiscal year, which ends September 30.

Donahoe conveyed USPS’s disappointment about the congressional action in his April 17 testimony to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, according to a USPS news release, but said USPS will comply with the law and delay implementation of the modified delivery schedule until new legislation allows USPS to move ahead.

Duckworth’s Legislative Director Stephanie Ueng anticipated that USPS will attempt to move forward next year without congressional approval but confirmed USPS’s outreach to mail-service pharmacies. “Outreach [to pharmacies] has increased tenfold since our letter,” Ueng told pharmacist.com. If USPS does move to 5-day delivery in the future or Congress includes a modified delivery schedule in reforms of USPS, she indicated, “at least USPS will keep in mind the needs for prescription drug delivery.”

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