NCPA is urging Congress to examine wasteful spending on potentially unnecessary medication refills, such as through mail order, as lawmakers hold a House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee hearing Wed., Nov. 28th entitled, “Examining Options to Combat Health Care Waste, Fraud and Abuse.”
According to the committee’s web site, its lawmakers are concerned about Medicare spending in particular and the hearing is intended to “explore potential new approaches to address these substantial and ongoing threats.”
To that end, in a message to Congressional offices NCPA has provided these and other pictures and accounts from its member community pharmacists of unused medication brought in by patients (after receiving it through the mail) for proper disposal.
About 1,600 independent community pharmacies across the country participate in the Dispose My Meds program through which these cases were documented.
These images—and many more like them—illustrate that “auto-refill” and other mail order practices often lack the flexibility to deal with changes in patient circumstances.
These experiences are collected in the “Waste Not, Want Not” presentation posted on the NCPA home page.
While wasteful auto-shipping is most commonly associated with mail order pharmacy, NCPA is also noting to lawmakers that recent reports are raising questions about whether appropriate safeguards are in place regarding programs to auto-refill prescriptions.
To be clear, NCPA believes that the automatic refilling of medications can provide convenience for patients, and may be one way to help facilitate adherence if administered properly. However, the proper use of medications needs to be a shared decision among the prescriber, pharmacist, and most importantly, the patient. Automatic refills without patient awareness—whether at mail or elsewhere—can prompt serious concerns about patient safety and potential fraud and abuse.
Pharmacists: send NCPA your firsthand accounts and pictures of collected mail order waste.
Prefer video? Check out Broken Arrow Family Drug’s clip below.