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New Study Debunks Wastage Myths of Prescriptions Filled in Medicare Part D

WASHINGTON, March 5, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In Medicare Part D, only 1% of dispensed medication is not taken by patients, mainly due to changes in therapy and other issues unrelated to whether a drugstore or a mail-service pharmacy dispensed the medication, according to a new study from Visante released by the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA). In fact, the vast majority of wastage cases involve fills from drugstores, not mail-service pharmacies.

"From day one, the 'wastage' issue has been a red-herring pushed by the drugstore lobby to undermine mail-service pharmacy in public and private programs," said PCMA President and CEO Mark Merritt . "This report finally puts that myth to bed. The truth is patients and payers want more—not less—access to home delivery because it's more convenient and affordable." 

Major findings from the study—"Myths and Realities of Medication Waste in Medicare Part D"—include:

  • Less than 1% of all medications dispensed for Medicare beneficiaries are wasted.
  • More than two-thirds of medication wasted in Medicare is dispensed by drugstores.
  • Mail-service pharmacies are typically used only after a patient has already been stabilized on several 30-day prescriptions dispensed by a local drugstore.
  • Waste related to mail-service "auto-refill" prescriptions accounts for just 0.02% of medication dispensed in Part D.

Click here to read the study

In addition to greater convenience, mail-service pharmacies can save Medicare seniors, employers, unions, government employee plans, consumers, and other commercial-sector payers $46.6 billion in prescription drug costs over the next ten years, according to a recent study. Compared to brick-and-mortar drugstores, mail-service pharmacies offer deeper discounts and reduced copays. 

According to a recent survey, eight-out-of-ten small businesses want to be able to continue offering discounts that encourage employees to use the more affordable mail-service pharmacy option and consumers who use home delivery are strongly satisfied with it. 

The benefits of mail-services pharmacies were touted by 88 members of the United States House of Representatives in a recent letter to United States Postmaster General and Chief Executive Officer Patrick Donahoe urging the Post Office to continue delivering medications to all Americans six days a week.  Click here to read the letter.

Even a poll released last month by drugstore lobby found that by a 3-1 margin (51-17), seniors agreed mail-service pharmacies cost less than community drugstores.

PCMA represents the nation's pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), which improve affordability and quality of care through the use of electronic prescribing (e-prescribing), generic alternatives, mail-service pharmacies, and other innovative tools for 215 million Americans.

Follow PCMA on Twitter

SOURCE Pharmaceutical Care Management Association
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