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Managed Pharmacy Care: Coping With Mail-Order Woes

LAKE ARROWHEAD, Calif., May 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Millions of Americans use mail order to fill prescriptions. Some do so to save a co-payment; others because they are mandated by their company or third-party payer.

But problems continue to occur in the delivery system, even if it is generally agreed among the profession that mail order does a fine job in supplying product.

Independent pharmacists hear an average of 2.47 mail order complaints per day from consumers. In most cases, pharmacists are not able to intercede, provide counseling or even sell a limited-days supply because the prescription is not from their store.

Most boards of pharmacy are interested, however, in unresolved problems. Those include:

  • Prescriptions not received in a timely manner.
  • Receiving improper prescriptions, including a product mailed to an address not of the recipients.
  • A product improperly delivered, whereas the recommended storage temperature is noted on the package but may be dropped off on a porch in 100-degree or below-freezing weather.
  • There is a change in the prescription, from what was written to what was delivered.

In all instances, the mail-order company will urge its customers to contact them first. But for consumers interested in pharmacy standards being maintained, this is not necessarily the best course of action.

Mail-order companies are held to identical standards as store pharmacies with the exception of signing for a prescription. The state boards of pharmacy, however, are keenly interested in hearing and tracking mail-order incidents. When improper deliver is discovered, the mail-order company is issued a "hefty fine" in hopes that internal problems can be corrected.

The boards of pharmacy want to hear from consumers who receive improper medications, fear a product has been stored incorrectly in their mail box or door front, failed to receive telephone counseling in a timely manner or had a prescription "switched" from the prescribed product to another without doctor and patient authorization. Those consumers are urged to contact complaint hotlines and "save the evidence."

In case of mail-order problems, California residents should call 916.574.7900 or 916.574.7909; Montana State Board of Pharmacy 406.841.2319 or; Washington Department of Health at 360.236.4700 or State Board of Pharmacy at 208.334.2356.

Managed Pharmacy Care, Inc. is a network of independent pharmacists.

Contact Gary Ellis 800.582.5889 for additional information.

SOURCE Managed Pharmacy Care, Inc.
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