The Untold Consequences of Wal-Mart’s Mail-Order Program

May 07, 2009

(As submitted to the Detroit Free-Press)

To the Editor:

Michigan consumers should note the potential side effects of WAL-MART's new mail-order prescription drug pilot program. Medication works wonders when used correctly but, when used improperly, can pose significant risks to patients.

It's been estimated that $177 billion is spent annually on hospital, physician and other treatments for inappropriate medication use. Swapping community pharmacists for envelopes and 1-800 numbers would almost certainly drive up the human and financial toll of adverse drug events. And what's a patient to do when the wrong medication shows up in the mail and time is of the essence?

Patients hoping to restrain drug costs should consult their community pharmacists, who see every day how families struggle to pay for essential medicines. They may be able to make recommendations to save patients money while ensuring they use their medications as safely and effectively as possible.

Bruce T. Roberts
Executive Vice President and CEO
National Community Pharmacists Association
Alexandria, VA

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