By Stephanie DuBois, Associate Director, Marketing Communications
We recently updated our “Waste Not, Want Not” slideshow with some new pictures of mail order waste. This week, we are highlighting some of the best examples on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ and we encourage you to do the same. Use the hashtag #mailorderwaste on each social media channel and share your stories and images of costly wasted medications. (Be sure to remove or black out all patient and other personal information before posting photos to comply with HIPAA and other privacy protections.)
These photos give a compelling visual illustration of the scope of the #mailorderwaste problem:
The first photo features $1,500 worth of wasted medications recovered from a patient at the VA, the result of mail order waste. Sadly, this pile only shows half of what was brought into the pharmacy for disposal!
This second example of #mailorderwaste is from a TRICARE patient, who tried to stop the mail order company’s auto-shipment of his unneeded medication. Instead, the company sent him another 90-day supply—$800 worth of wasted medications that were brought into the patient’s local community pharmacy for proper disposal.
The mail order waste problem in TRICARE is only destined to get worse with new copay changes that went into effect last year. TRICARE for Life beneficiaries are now required to obtain all refill prescriptions for covered brand-name maintenance medications from the TRICARE mail order program or military treatment facility pharmacies during a five-year pilot program. (The pilot program begins Feb. 14, 2014 and beneficiaries may opt out of it after one year of participation.)
We will be commenting on the TRICARE interim final rule and will continue to advocate for a level playing field for community pharmacies. To bring to light waste associated with mail order programs, we need your help. Send us your photos of mail order waste at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please remove any patient identifying information, state the estimated value of the returned medications, and name the payer (if known), especially if it is a government entity.