Mandatory mail order? Seniors concerned

Thursday, January 24, 2013

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A survey that suggests seniors are leery of mandatory mail-order pharmacy services may cast a long shadow on Medicare’s national mail-order program for diabetes supplies.

Respondents to the survey raised concerns about running out of medication, timeliness, and the possibility of medications getting lost in the mail or stolen.

“Mail order is not for everyone,” stated B. Douglas Hoey, NCPA CEO, in a press release. “In fact, consumers have said that it’s not for most people. Patients deserve a choice and they don’t like being told which pharmacy they have to use.”

The national survey, conducted by MENTORx on behalf of the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA), featured responses from 669 Medicare beneficiaries.

Fifty-five percent of respondents said they were also worried about losing access to a pharmacist they know and trust.

“Denying seniors, many of whom are on complex medication regimens, the right to obtain medication from the pharmacy of their choice and from a pharmacist they trust deprives them of vital face-to-face consultation with one of their healthcare providers,” Hoey added.

Sixty-three percent of seniors said they were fearful of losing access to the pharmacy of their choice, while 83% percent said they were opposed to mandatory mail order if it would force their community pharmacy to close.

About one-third of respondents submitted handwritten comments in addition to the surveys, and 82.7% of these comments expressed fears or negative attitudes about mail-order services.

“Mail order was not worth the trouble it caused me,” one respondent wrote. “At times you need a prescription filled immediately and not have to wait days or weeks to receive it by mail.”