On September 9, 2020, U.S. Senators Bob Casey and Elizabeth Warren released a report entitled “Rapidly Increasing Postal Service Delivery Delays for Mail-Order.” The report focuses on recent operational changes made at the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) and concludes that “there have been significant delays in USPS deliveries of mail-order prescription drugs in recent months, potentially posing serious health risks to millions of Americans and increasing costs for consumers and taxpayers.”
At the same time that there has been a 20% increase in prescription drugs filled through mail-order during the pandemic, there have been “significant and increasing delays in the delivery of mail-order prescription drugs in the summer of 2020.”
According to the press release accompanying the report,
All four of the largest mail-order pharmacies and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) that rely heavily on USPS for deliveries revealed that they were experiencing significant delays in the delivery of mail-order prescription drugs in the summer of 2020, with an increase in average delivery times ranging from 18-32 percent. This means that prescription deliveries that typically took 2-3 days were instead taking closer to 3-4 days. Some delays were much longer, with one mail-order pharmacy reporting “a marked increase in July in the number of patients experiencing shipment delays of seven days or more.” The Senators’ investigation also found that the delays in USPS service are imposing new costs and burdens on health care providers, which could increase costs to the federal government, consumers and taxpayers.
The report cites to several consumer advocacy organizations, including the Center for Medicare Advocacy. According to the Center “[t]he current COVID-19 public health emergency has had a disproportionately harmful impact on older adults, and necessitates minimizing contact with other people. As more people avoid picking up their drugs and supplies at pharmacies and other places of business, older adults and individuals with disabilities are even more dependent upon the Postal Service to provide a bridge to the outside world.”
Read the Center’s full letter to Senators Casey and Warren at https://medicareadvocacy.org/center-letter-re-impact-of-postal-service-delays-on-medicare-beneficiaries/