By B. Douglas Hoey, RPh, MBA, National Community Pharmacists Association
As submitted to Los Angeles Times
David Lazarus' July 20 column "CVS should require signatures for automatic prescription refills" exposed a practice that is far too common; however, it only scratched the surface of this problem.
Pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) operate mail order pharmacies that routinely auto-fill prescriptions and ship large quantities, often for 90-days. This is a significant factor in pharmacy waste.
What if the physician changes the patient's prescription? Then these drugs usually go to waste. Moreover, once auto-shipping starts, it can take a while to stop—leading to additional wastage. Waste not only increases costs, but can have a negative impact on the environment if excess medications are not properly disposed of.
To mitigate these problems, patients should control their healthcare decisions and have the ability to choose providers, including pharmacies. To learn more, and to see many examples of mail order drug waste, visit www.whorunsmydrugplan.com.
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