Hold Forced Mail-order Pharmacies Accountable for Delays & Risking Lives

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This petition is to each State Attorney General across our nation.  

Pharmacy payment processors, the Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs), like CVS-Caremark, OptumRX, and Express Scripts began mandating patients use their self-operated mail-order system. Patients are finding their safe and preferred option; a local licensed pharmacy has been removed by insurance coverage to save cost. Today, forced mail-order pharmacy risks patients’ lives or adds unnecessary pain and suffering.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and The Justice Department have failed to protect us from the unfair practice of compelling patients to the PBMs’ forced mail-order system. Both of the institutions judged the merger’s effect against competition among other PBMs, never questioning how the merged entities’ actions will affect patients and their communities. 

Therefore, patients, physicians, nursing staff, caregivers, and many healthcare professionals are demanding that the Attorney General in each state protect us from corporate abuse of our healthcare system. As health plans merge the suffering of patients is rarely considered.  Regulators cannot stop a merged PBM industry from putting profits before patients thereby disrupting a national healthcare system for the promise of a streamlined one.

There are risks associated with medication through the mail.  Lifesaving medications are shipped by common carrier, bypassing the protections afforded by pharmacies and regulated by the Boards of Pharmacy in each state.  Patients are left without the options in their coverage to protect both drugs and disruption.  The medications that were once available in 30 minutes are now 5 to7 days away.  Emergencies are no longer perceived as such. 

Currently, PBMs and their mail-order arm are causing life-saving medications and routine prescriptions to be unnecessarily subjected to being:

·         Lost

·         Stolen

·         Damaged

·         Shipped to the wrong address

More importantly:

A.      During shipping, indiscriminate packaging allows exposure to temperatures outside manufacturers’ safety standards.

 

B.       When received, no record of a drug reaching temperature threshold is available from the shipper.

 

C.       When confronting a mail order PBM one encounters blatant denial that patients’ medications could lose potency or be adulterated as stated in the United States Pharmacopeia.

 

D.      The important face-to-face interaction and consultation with a professional are diminished affecting, the elderly patient, impaired individuals, learning-disabled and non-English speaking patients.  WE BELIEVE LAWS PROTECT THIS GROUP

 

E.        Delay in discharges from institutions

 

F.        Increased Emergency Room frequency

 

G.      Treatments postponed or disrupted

 

H.      Interruptions in cyclical treatment, chemotherapy

 

Now we would like every state to consider these issues as a jurisdictional issue to protect the infirm by taking the following steps:

Put an emergency government telephone, internet, and social media checkpoint in place to help when someone has registered a complaint with their PBM and is receiving unsatisfactory results.

Require PBMs to track temperature oscillations from leaving their mailing point to the opening of the package at the final destination.

Require an alternate method to supply drugs to the patient with lost, damaged or destroyed prescriptions in transit at the shipper’s expense. (This may be bought locally for the patient at retail or supplying chemotherapy or anti-rejection medicine directly from a hospital).

Pay local pharmacies to remain open.  This is a problem mail order is creating, leaving towns and entire islands no ability no accessible Pharmacist.

Promulgate rules and regulations so patients are never locked in or locked out of any pharmacy who meets the criteria to fill a prescription which includes covering drugs at PBM’s own gross professional price, including shipping. 

Receiving emergency refills without question, when a PBM cannot or does not supply

By signing and sharing you will save lives and reduce unnecessary pain and suffering.

Thank you,

Loretta Boesing