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Why Mail-Order Pharmacies Are a Prescription for Savings

Bottle of prescription drugs   / Credit: Prescription drugs image via Shutterstock

Mail-service pharmacies can save the nation's employers, unions, government employee plans, consumers and other commercial-sector payers $46.6 billion over the next ten years, new research shows. But, proposed state laws and regulations that restrict mail-service pharmacy options threaten to raise costs for both consumers and payers.

The research found that such legislation can decrease use — and savings — by more than 50 percent for plan sponsors. This could be a significant pain point for the nation's small businesses.

Nearly eight out of 10 small businesses want to be able to continue offering discounts that encourage employees to use the more affordable mail-service pharmacy option, according to research sponsored by the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA), which represents the nation's pharmacy benefits managers.

[Workers Want Employers to Help Them Stay Healthy]

Home delivery of prescription drugs is popular with consumers because it offers them an average savings of 15 percent for a 90-day supply of drugs compared with the same prescription obtained at a brick-and-mortar drugstore; mail service also eliminates a trip to the drugstore.  This saves consumers and payers an average of $22 for each 90-day prescription.

Each percentage point decrease in the use of mail-service pharmacies nationally would increase prescription costs by $2.3 billion over ten years, the PCMA research showed.

"In this economy, consumers and payers need every cost-saving tool they can get and mail-service pharmacy is at the top of the list," said Mark Merritt, PCMA president and CEO.

Reach BusinessNewsDaily senior writer Ned Smith at nsmith@techmedianetwork.com. Follow him on Twitter @nedbsmith.

Ned Smith

Ned was senior writer at Sweeney Vesty, an international consulting firm, and was Vice President of communications for iQuest Analytics. Before that, he has been a web editor and managed the Internet and intranet sites for Citizens Communications. He began his journalism career as a police reporter with the Roanoke (Va.) Times, and was managing editor of American Way magazine and senior editor of Us. He was a Captain in the U.S. Air Force and has a masters in journalism from the University of Arizona.

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