PBMs contact Congress over proposed USPS five-day delivery schedule

April 29, 2010
Pharmaceutical Commerce, Pharmaceutical Commerce - April 2010,

In response to a recent proposal that would eliminate the United States Postal Service's Saturday mail delivery, the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association, which represents pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) sent letters to Congress detailing the negative effect the reduction of deliveries would have on Americans relying on mail service pharmacies.

"About 1-in-6 prescriptions that are home delivered arrive on Saturday," says PCMA President and CEO Mark Merritt. "Consumers count on getting their prescriptions at the right time and often can't wait an additional two days, or even three days in the case of federal holidays that fall on a Monday."

Millions of Americans with chronic conditions rely on mail-service pharmacies for convenience and value, and PCMA argues that the elimination of Saturday delivery would be detrimental. A news release issued by PCMA details the findings of research conducted by government and independent studies to examine the increased savings and safety offered by mail-order pharmacies. Research highlights include:

  • The Federal Trade Commission found that mail-order pharmacies provide more savings than retail pharmacies.

  • Peer-reviewed data shows that highly automated mail-service pharmacies filled prescriptions with 23 times greater accuracy than retail pharmacies. In several of the most critical areas, the error rate was zero for mail-service pharmacies.

  • The American Journal of Managed Care found that consumers who received their medications for chronic conditions through a mail-order pharmacy were more likely to take them as prescribed by their doctors than patients who obtained their medication from a local pharmacy.

The Postal Service's proposal (while noting that Saturday is its

lowest-volume delivery day) also mentions that the practice of delivering

mail to private retail locations is expanding, giving consumers more options for their own pickup. If Saturday delivery is stopped, PBMs can still rely on premium delivery services like FedEx and UPS, but likely at a premium price.