The Flap About Meds in the Mail

It’s all about the meds. You need ‘em. You gotta get ‘em. You can’t stand spending your life chasing around after them. But of course your life now depends on it.

Mail order came into my life about a year ago, when my husband changed jobs and health care plans. Lots of compromises with the new plan, but the meds-in-the-mail program changed my life, I tell you! You get three month’s worth of supplies delivered to your doorstep (!), usually at cheaper co-pay rates. Test strips didn’t turn out to be cheaper, but the convenience of phone or online renewals is life-altering for anyone dependent on six or more prescriptions that keep running out at different times of the month.

I suppose I’m not surprised, but truly perturbed by the outbreak of commercial war over mail order prescriptions. Of course, it’s all about cutting costs. Since mail order is now the cheapest way to fill prescriptions, many companies are making it mandatory. For example, GM recently banned its employees from filling prescriptions at Walgreens in favor of the company’s cheaper mail-order plan.

Retail pharmacy chains like CVS are retaliating against employers with these policies by opting out of plans and such, allegedly for denying patients “access to community pharmacists, whom they value and trust.” Who are we kidding here? It’s pretty clear that CVS and other retailers are really most concerned about their own loss of income. They make money not only on the prescriptions they fill, but on the additional buying and impulse shopping people do when they come in to a store to place or pick up a prescription order.

I’d have to agree with the folks at BI Daily News that there is a role for both retail and mail order: retail stores are still the best way to fill prescriptions needed immediately, and mail order is best suited for “maintenance drugs.” For us diabetics, who are in it for the long-haul maintenance plan, mail order is a godsend! Massive convenience and cost-cutting for us, too.

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18 Responses

  1. Kathleen Weaver
    Kathleen Weaver February 28, 2005 at 5:09 pm | | Reply

    Yeah, but ordering insulin mail order is VERY stress producing, especially if you live in Texas.

  2. Lori
    Lori February 28, 2005 at 8:07 pm | | Reply

    Why stress-producing? I’m being educated here. I’m newly diagnosed and reading everyone’s blogs appreciatively- thanks for the”gold mine!”

  3. Martha O'Connor
    Martha O'Connor February 28, 2005 at 9:23 pm | | Reply

    Hi, I LOVE your new blog! I will be linking it once I update my template.

    What kills me is throwing away that almost-full bottle of insulin at the end of the month! But once we accidentally kept the Humalog around for too long, and it DID NOT WORK just one day after the expiration date.

    They know me very, very well at Longs. :o )

    Take care and may your numbers be between 80 and 120! xxoo Martha

  4. Martha O'Connor
    Martha O'Connor February 28, 2005 at 9:23 pm | | Reply

    Hi, I LOVE your new blog! I will be linking it once I update my template.

    What kills me is throwing away that almost-full bottle of insulin at the end of the month! But once we accidentally kept the Humalog around for too long, and it DID NOT WORK just one day after the expiration date.

    They know me very, very well at Longs. :o )

    Take care and may your numbers be between 80 and 120! xxoo Martha

  5. Martha O'Connor
    Martha O'Connor February 28, 2005 at 9:23 pm | | Reply

    Hi, I LOVE your new blog! I will be linking it once I update my template.

    What kills me is throwing away that almost-full bottle of insulin at the end of the month! But once we accidentally kept the Humalog around for too long, and it DID NOT WORK just one day after the expiration date.

    They know me very, very well at Longs. :o )

    Take care and may your numbers be between 80 and 120! xxoo Martha

  6. Kathleen Weaver
    Kathleen Weaver March 1, 2005 at 9:34 am | | Reply

    I commented about this on my blog, with a detailed story that I’m in the middle of.

    The gist, is that they don’t ever deliver when they say they will.

  7. Barbara Kupper
    Barbara Kupper March 4, 2005 at 5:52 am | | Reply

    I too, use Med Co. a mail order prescription filler. The trouble with receiving insulin or strips through the mail in Texas and FL is HEAT. If it sits in the mailbox too long it COOKS. Med Co usually e-mails me so I know approx when it will show up and I make sure I’m home for the mail person to make sure it doesn’t sit outside in the oven. You can’t beat the price though. They also keep track of all my prescriptions, short term (local pharm) or the long term which they handle. At the end of the year I get a detailed account and costing of what I took for that year.

    What do you mean, you want to hear from ‘real diabetics’. YOU are one of this fellowship now. You became a member the day you were diagnosed. Good site. Barbara

  8. Terry
    Terry March 11, 2005 at 1:35 pm | | Reply

    Mail order may be fine for hardware (the lancets, syringes and test strips), but I think when it comes to actual medicine, you need the personal contact of a pharmacist who can advise you of any complications or drug interactions. I was told that sometimes they are more knowledgable on this subject than the doctors who prescribe the meds.

  9. Amy Tenderich
    Amy Tenderich March 12, 2005 at 12:13 pm | | Reply

    Hey Terry,
    I’d have to disagree here. Lots of us are on the meds long-term, so there’s really nothing new a pharmacist can tell you. You just need to keep renewing & renewing, so why not have a 3-mo supply shipped to your front door? Even for insulin I had a great experience. They pack it in a cooler so it’s safe for at least 24hrs even if I’m not home when the delivery truck arrives.

  10. terry
    terry March 12, 2005 at 2:18 pm | | Reply

    Besides my regular diabetes meds, I’m taking Protonix for 2 months for stomach complications which evolved from acetaminiphin/codiene. When you need a special prescription right away, can you wait for the mail?

  11. Amy Tenderich
    Amy Tenderich March 12, 2005 at 3:26 pm | | Reply

    Usually not, but that was my point: retail stores are still the best way to fill prescriptions needed immediately, and mail order is best for the “maintenance drugs” that we all need for our ongoing care. I believe all patients should have rights and access to both channels.

  12. Kevin
    Kevin March 17, 2005 at 10:19 am | | Reply

    When it works I love mail order. I live 30 miles from my pharmacy.

    Recently I have been having problems with my mail order. After waiting a week for our online order to come in we called and had to reorder by phone. I am still waiting 5 days later for that order. I have run out of 2 of my meds and have only 3 days left of another. Also I can only get a 30 day supply of some and 90 days of others. They all cost the same as I would pay at the pharmacy.

  13. moreofless
    moreofless March 28, 2005 at 12:37 pm | | Reply

    Mail order From Aetna Rx has just been one problem after another.

  14. Amy Tenderich
    Amy Tenderich March 28, 2005 at 4:16 pm | | Reply

    Sorry to hear that. I’ve had a great experience with PacifiCare’s Prescription Solutions (RxSolutions.com).

  15. DensityDuck
    DensityDuck June 7, 2005 at 10:23 am | | Reply

    I use EHS to get my perscriptions (through Aetna POS), and I haven’t had any complaints. I only get one scrip, and that’s Humalog.

  16. Rachel
    Rachel July 17, 2005 at 12:53 pm | | Reply

    we haven’t had any problems with diabetes supplies with our mail order (Merck-Medco through United Health Care) – my husband’s insulin always comes with cold packs via Next Day or 2nd day air. Even when order our test strips, they send them very quickly. (Now his Zocor on the other hand…)

  17. Jeffery
    Jeffery October 28, 2006 at 8:28 am | | Reply

    Let me just state I do work for a diabetic testing supply mail order company (AmMed Direct). We ship out supplies in many different ways and an onsite pharmacy fulfills many types of medication orders. From what I have gathered from some different folks that work at the company. For some folks having the service is helpful so they do not have to go back and forth to their local pharmacy. Just wanted to add my two-cent worth.

  18. Mike Poland
    Mike Poland August 16, 2007 at 8:04 am | | Reply

    Mail order meds are a Godsend to me….
    The copays alone save me a fortune…I use BC/BS Escripts…I rec a 90 day supply for one copay and never have refill or delivery problems….

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