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Study Shows Medicare Savings When Local Pharmacies Fill 90-Day Prescriptions
Date:2/26/2013

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Feb. 26, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A newly conducted study of millions of Medicare Part D prescription drug event (PDE) data has found that community pharmacies provide 90-day medication supplies at lower cost than mail order pharmacies and that local pharmacists substitute lower-cost generic drugs more often when compared to mail order pharmacies.

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With funding from the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA), Norman V. Carroll , Ph.D., a Professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, reviewed PDE records for 2010 that were supplied by the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). The analysis found:

  • Lower costs at community pharmacies. For 90-day prescriptions filled by local pharmacies, costs per unit of medication, as compared with mail order pharmacies, were lower for total costs ($0.94 vs. $0.96), Medicare costs ($0.59 vs. $0.63), and all third-party payer costs ($0.64 vs. $0.72). Because of co-pay differentials set by health plans to incentivize mail order usage, patient costs at retail were higher for patients ($0.31 vs. $0.24 at mail order) even though the total cost of those prescriptions was less at retail.
  • Greater use of more affordable generic drugs at local pharmacies. Appropriate substitution of generic drugs for pricier brand-name drugs in 90-day prescriptions occurred more often in community pharmacies – 91.4 percent of the time vs. 88.8 percent at mail order.

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SOURCE National Community Pharmacists Association
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