The Employer's Guide Blog for Overseeing PBMs

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Mail order drug systems more cost effective than brick-n-mortar pharmacies

The debate rages over which option provides the better experience: pharmacy filled-and-delivered prescription drugs, or mail-order systems. Generally, research has shown that more patients prefer to get their drugs through a retail pharmacy than by mail.
However, when it comes to who’s saving who more money, two new studies suggest that mail order wins that one hands down.
The thumbs up for mail order come from two analyses: One by Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, another by Kaiser Permanente and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The former analysis compares mail-service pharmacies and retail pharmacies in Medicare Part D claims, while the latter looks specifically at the experiences of patients with diabetes. The Medicare Part D “finds that mail-service pharmacies have lower overall costs,” reported the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association.
“CMS’ data confirms what consumers have known for years: mail-service pharmacies offer a better deal than drugstores in Medicare Part D. This is unwelcome news for drugstore lobbyists who want new regulations on their more affordable competitors,” said PCMA President and CEO Mark Merritt.
When CMS looked at generic drugs only, the cost advantage via mail order was 13 percent compared to pharmacy prices.  Click here for the full story…
December 4, 2013

Tyrone Squires, MBA, CPBS

I am the proud founder and managing director of TransparentRx, a fiduciary-model PBM based in Las Vegas, Nevada. We help health plan sponsors reduce pharmacy spend, by as much as 50%, without cutting benefits or shifting costs to employees.

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