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Archive for October, 2011

Examples of Mail Order Pharmacy Waste and Why Mail Order is NOT Cheaper!

At the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) meeting in Nashville, Tennessee, the group, which represents the interests of independent drugstores (like Plain City Druggist) and community pharmacists (like Joe and me) gave an important talk about the wastefulness of mail order pharmacies.

In a slide show of photos that were sent in by community pharmacies participating in the “Dispose My Meds Program” (where customers brought in unused medications for safe disposal), NCPA showed thousands of dollars in medications that mail order pharmacies continued to send to patients all the while charging the patients’ prescription plans. These were medications that the patient did not order, want, or need and ended up bringing to their local pharmacy for disposal.

Sometimes a patient was deceased, but the mail order pharmacy continued to send medications even after being told numerous times about the error. The medications continued to be billed to the insurance plan.

Other times, patients were set up on “auto-shipping” plans and received medications even when they did not need refills, just so the company could bill for and receive payments for the medicine.

Who pays for this medication waste? The business purchasing the drug plan that requires mail order, the patients themselves, and, ultimately, all of us who must cover the mounting costs of health care.

To read the full article and see lots more photos of wasted medicines (and, ultimately, wasted money), go HERE. The photo at the beginning of this article shows an example of medication waste with mail order.

And read the NCPA blog posting about this HERE.

You can also watch a video about mail order medication waste HERE.

Beyond the waste of money in unused medications, mail order pharmacies offer false savings to the companies that choose them to provide their constituents with a medication plan. While many people have the perception that going with a mail order company is cheaper for them (they get a 90 day supply for the same co-pay as a 30 day supply–which we unfairly cannot provide the patient), there are many reasons why this is NOT the case.

For one thing, many of the mail order companies get rebates from drug companies when they use their “brand name” medications. Many mail order companies have gotten into trouble via lawsuits for switching patients to more expensive brand name drugs to increase their rebate checks, passing the costs on to the companies purchasing the prescription plans and thus, ultimately, the patients.

Community pharmacists are known for trying to save patients money by switching from more costly brand drugs to equivalent generic medications. Community pharmacies don’t get any giant rebates from drug companies for doing what is right for their patients.

This is just one instance of the way mail order companies are actually more expensive than local community drugstores. To read an article that details the many, many “False Savings of Mail Order,” go HERE.

You can read lots more disturbing articles about mail order companies and the “PBMs” or “Pharmacy Benefit Managers” that provide these plans and often own the mail order companies (talk about a conflict of interest!) HERE.

If you would prefer to have the choice to get your medications from your local pharmacy and are tired of these giant companies dictating prices and limiting access to pharmacy services, please consider writing your member of Congress. Right now, we need you to write and oppose the merger of Express Scripts and Medco, which will lead to one of the most enormous mega-mergers in pharmacy history.

To read more about why this merger is a threat and to write your Congressional representative to oppose it, please go HERE.

Union County Historical Society Events in October.

The Union County Historical Society has several upcoming events that sound very interesting. Joe and I both love history, especially local history, so we hope to make it to a couple of these dedications and perhaps the dinner.

The first event is planned for Saturday, October 15 at 11 am at the Jerome United Methodist Church located at 10531 Jerome Road in Jerome. There will be a dedication of an Ohio Historical Marker honoring the Jerome United Methodist Church and Co. E, 30th Ohio Volunteer Infantry that formed in Jerome during the Civil War. A cannon unit of the Ohio 121st will be at the site demonstrating Civil War artillery.  If you have any questions about this event, you can contact John Woerner at jrustw@aol.com

Another dedication will be held on Friday, October 28 at 11 am at Winget Road in Union Township. This dedication will be for another Ohio Historical Marker honoring the Culbertson Covered Bridge and Reuben L. Partridge, nationally known builder of covered bridges, who was from Union County (Chuckery). To get to the site, take Route 4 south of Milford Center to Homer Road. Turn left on to Homer Road and then left on to Winget to reach the covered bridge. Signs for the covered bridge are also posted. For more information about this event, contact Steve and Mardy Handon Stolte at mdhanlon-stolte@columbus.rr.com

On Thursday, October 27, the Union County Historical Society will hold their annual dinner meeting and program at Der Dutchman. The meal will be an Amish-style dinner of roast beef, chicken, homemade bread, apple butter, salad, mashed potatoes, corn, drinks, and pie. The cost of the meal is $15 per person. Reservations can be sent to the Union County Historical Society, P. O. Box 303, Marysville, Ohio 43040. Get your reservations in by Friday, October 21.

At the dinner, the featured speaker will be Scott Trostel, who has written a number  of books about Ohio History. This year, Mr. Trostel will be talking about the Lincoln Inaugural Train and the 1861 journey of President-elect Abraham Lincoln from Springfield, Illinois to Washington D.C. where he was sworn in as the 16th President of the United States. Last year, Mr. Trostel spoke about the Lincoln Funeral Train. His books, The Lincoln Funeral Train, which Joe just got in the mail a few weeks ago and has been reading, and The Lincoln Inaugural Train will be on sale at the annual dinner. You do not need to be a member of the Historical Society to attend, but you must reserve your dinner seats. Contact Bob Parrott at rwparrott@embarqmail.com for more information.

Finally, the event that I think sounds the most tempting to attend is the Civil War Cemetery Tour on Saturday, October 22 at 1 pm in Oakdale Cemetery in Marysville. I love wandering around old cemeteries.

This tour will focus upon Civil War soldiers who are buried within the cemetery. Costumed tour guides will take guests throughout the cemetery, telling stories of the men and women who participated in the Civil War and who now rest at Oakdale. This tour honors the 150th Anniversary of the the start of the Civil War.

Following the tour, guests may visit the Union County Historical Society located at 246 West Sixth Street in Marysville to see displays about Union County’s involvement in the Civil War. Cider and donuts will be provided. There is no charge for this event. For questions, please contact Bo Johnstone at colivinghistory@hotmail.com

Come out and learn a bit about our local history. Don’t be surprised that you will have a lot of fun exploring the past.