Mail-service pharmacies save consumers and taxpayers money, and patients who use mail service tend to better follow prescription regimens, studies have shown. The drugstore lobby has been pushing lawmakers to restrict the rights of consumers, employers, Medicare, Tricare and Medicaid to use mail service. "Unfortunately, proposed laws and regulations restricting this service would raise costs, reduce accountability and trigger an avalanche of wasteful spending," writes PCMA President and CEO Mark Merritt.
The National Community Pharmacists Association argues Medicare beneficiaries do not want to receive their prescription drugs in the mail, but their own survey shows otherwise. When asked, Medicare beneficiaries agree that mail-service pharmacies are less expensive than retail pharmacies. "When the drugstore lobby admits that mail-service pharmacies cost less than local drugstores, it's time to remove Medicare barriers that keep seniors from accessing home delivery," said PCMA President and CEO Mark Merritt in a statement.
Increases to Tricare prescription copayments will go into effect Feb. 1 under a plan agreed to by House and Senate conferees. They mostly accepted the House version of the plan, which included more modest fee hikes. Medications at military pharmacies will remain free, but fees for prescriptions for brand-name drugs filled at retail outlets and via mail will rise.
A Department of Defense budget proposal to encourage higher utilization of generic drugs and mail-order pharmacy services in its Tricare insurance program will save money, PCMA President and CEO Mark Merritt said. "[I]ncreasing the use of generics and mail-service pharmacies reduces costs and enhances access to prescription drugs for military members and their families," Merritt said. "[M]ail-service pharmacies lower costs for consumers and payers, make far fewer errors, and increase medication adherence for those suffering from chronic conditions."