Health: Prescription Deliveries and Mail Delays

The Story:

Recent policy changes at and delivery difficulties with the US Postal Service have had an impact on the delivery of prescription medicines. This is a matter of considerable importance — personally for those concerned, of course, and economically as well. In 2019, the total sales of mail-order prescriptions in the US exceeded $140 billion.


The issue of the timely delivery of the medicines that pass through the USPS became even more pressing this year. In March, as many states adopted quarantine laws and regulations under the pressure of Covid-19, reliance on mail delivery shot up even for people who until then had been making physical visits to the neighborhood brick-and-mortar drug store.

Two Senators wrote to some of the biggest pharmacy chains and pharmacy benefit managers in the country last month and asked for information about the extent and impact of the delays. The Senators, Elizabeth Warren (D- MA) and Bob Casey (D- PA), have since issued a 10 page report on their findings.

Meanwhile, the Energy and Commerce Committee of the House of Representatives has opened an inquiry into the extent of and responsibility for such delays.

In Pill Form:

Senators Warren and Casey say that there has been an 18% to 32% increase in delivery times for mail-order drugs in recent months.

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