Pharmacists vs. Mail Order
A brutal war has begun between mail order companies and pharmacists over where people should be allowed to fill long-term prescriptions.
Local pharmacists in the state of New York are lobbying for a legislation that prevents health plans from demanding patients with chronic illnesses to have their prescriptions filled via mail order.
While a number of health plans changed to mail order delivery several years ago due to the fact that it was less expensive for consumers and employees alike. However, drugstores have been providing prices that are somewhat more competitive, which pushes lawmakers level the playing field, making sure people are still able to go to local pharmacies to have their prescriptions filled.
The projected legislation banning mandatory mail order programs was first introduced in late February in both state chambers. In addition, the legislation also prohibits health plans from requiring patients to pay more for their prescriptions if they decide to purchase them from a local drugstore.
The Pharmacists Society of the State of New York traveled to Albany in order to plead their case. The executive director, Craig M. Burridge said, “What we are asking is to make mail order an option, not mandatory.” He continued, “We are not opposed to mail order as a convenience to the patients. But right now, they don’t have a choice.”
The big organizations that are responsible for the management of prescription drug programs, pharmacy benefit managers, believe that mail order is so appealing because not only is it more convenient, but it is less expensive as well.
The Pharmaceutical Care Management Association represents these pharmacy benefit managers. The president Mark Merritt said, “There’s going to be use of more home delivery, not less.” He also said, “It saves money and is pretty popular with consumers.”
photo credit: dno1967b