Mail Order Cuts Medical Costs
By George Anderson
The cost for filling a prescription through a mail-order pharmacy is $2.50. Performing the same function at retail costs $5, on average. Even with some added costs of doing business through mail order, the results of a new study released by the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA) says prescriptions filled through the mail are 10 percent cheaper than those bought at retail stores.
According to PCMA, which represents pharmaceutical benefit managers, mail order is one way the government can reduce expenses for Medicare.
Mark Merritt, president and CEO of PCMA, told Reuters, “To the degree the mail-service pharmacy option can be more aggressively promoted and accepted, the better off seniors will be and better off the Medicare program will be.”
In a business environment where medical costs have become an operating expense burden, many believe that the use of mail-order pharmacies is a means to help keep costs under control.
According to Reuters, citing the PCMA’s study, mail order prescriptions, “which now cut $34.6 billion in private sector health care costs, could save 56.8 billion through 2015 if more chronic and other suitable prescriptions were filled by mail.”
Moderator’s Comment: What does the government’s emphasis on mail order prescriptions in the Medicare program mean for those involved in the U.S. pharmacy
business? Should government or business be able to require health plan participants to use mail order to keep costs down?
– George Anderson – Moderator