Mail Service Pharmacies

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 Letter from Federal Trade Commission (March 7, 2014)

In this letter, the FTC staff warns the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that proposed any willing pharmacy provisions threaten the effectiveness of selective contracting with pharmacies as a tool for lowering Medicare Part D costs.

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The TRICARE Mail Order Pharmacy Program Was Cost Efficient and Adequate Dispensing Controls Were in Place
Department of Defense Inspector General (July, 2013).

This audit of the TRICARE Mail-Order Pharmacy program conducted by the Office of Inspector General (OIG) at the Department of Defense (DoD) found the TRICARE mail-order pharmacy program “more efficient and effective than retail programs, providing cost savings to DoD and potentially reducing health risks associated with dispensing incorrect pharmaceuticals.” The OIG notes that the TRICARE mail-order pharmacy program cost 16.7 percent less than prescriptions obtained through retail pharmacies.

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Myths and Realities of Medication Waste in Medicare Part D
Pharmaceutical Care Management Association Report prepared by Visante (March, 2013).

This report refutes the assertions that medication wastage is: 1) a significant problem in Medicare Part D; 2) more prevalent in mail-service than retail pharmacy; and 3) is largely caused by how a drug is dispensed. It concludes that: 1) less than 1% of medications are “wasted” in Medicare Part D; 2) two-thirds of wastage occurs among prescriptions dispensed by drugstores; and 3) wastage is largely due to discontinuation of therapy, switching to a different drug, changing dosage, death, and other reasons unrelated to how patients fill prescriptions.

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