Dangers of Mandatory Mail Order Shine Light on the Need for Patient Pharmacy Choice and Protecting the Pharmacist-Patient Relationship
The American Pharmacists Association (APhA) is deeply concerned about anecdotal reports of disruptions in the US Postal Service delivery of medications to our members’ patients, including our nation’s veterans. While we are working to independently determine the full extent of these reported interruptions, it is crucial to note that missing medication doses can have a significant impact on a patient’s health.
Where disruptions exist, they must be addressed immediately. To achieve the best drug therapy outcomes, medications must be taken according to the prescribed schedule. That is why it is vital that patients have the right to choose where they obtain their medications, and why we oppose benefit plans and pharmaceutical benefit managers (PBMs) that require patients to participate in mandatory mail order for medications. Time and again, we have seen that an unduly narrow list of medication distribution options courts disaster. Mandatory mail order interferes with the patient–pharmacist relationship. It’s important for patients to have a relationship with their pharmacist just like they do with their physician to ensure continuity in care.
We remind the public and legislators that pharmacists are the nation’s most accessible health care providers, with 90 percent of Americans living within five miles of a pharmacy. During the COVID-19 pandemic, pharmacists have fought on the front lines to meet their patients’ needs –providing home delivery and offering curbside pick-up to minimize patients’ exposure to the coronavirus.
Any patient that goes without one prescription is too many. APhA will continue to monitor the ongoing situation and take swift action if any verifiable data becomes available that disruption to mail services is impacting our patients. APhA urges patients to talk to your pharmacist about your medication needs, and to report any disruptions to APhA, your health plans, PBMs and elected officials.