ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Nearly 1,200 seniors have complained to Medicare this year about a litany of problems with mail-order pharmacies, including shipping unneeded medication and going without medication due to delayed shipments, the National Community Pharmacists Association noted Tuesday citing documentation recently released by the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
Starting Jan. 1, 2014, CMS will require Medicare Part D prescription drug plans to ensure that their contracted pharmacies affirmatively obtain consent from a beneficiary prior to shipping or delivering a new or refill prescription. The change comes in response to CMS receiving complaints from patients and cases documented by NCPA of individuals turning unused or expired medication into community pharmacies for disposal.
“We commend Medicare officials for acknowledging mail-order waste and for responding to the concerns of patients and community pharmacists by implementing this new policy,” stated NCPA CEO Douglas Hoey. “The complaints chronicled by CMS speak for many patients and underscore the fact that mail order is not for everyone. Patients deserve a choice to opt for the pharmacy provider that best meets their individual healthcare needs," he said.
“Community pharmacists often hear firsthand about patients’ unfortunate experiences with mail order,” Hoey added. “Most of these problems cited by seniors are avoidable in community pharmacies where a patient talks to a healthcare provider face-to-face. … Community pharmacists intervene so patients don’t go days or weeks without their medication.”