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Internists Say Delivery of Mail-order Prescriptions is Critical

Statement attributable to:
Jacqueline W. Fincher, MD, MACP
President, American College of Physicians

Washington, DC (August 17, 2020) —The American College of Physicians (ACP) is alarmed by recent reports of changes in the United States Postal Service, and is concerned that these changes will exacerbate existing issues and delays in mail delivery. Across the country millions of patients regularly depend on the U.S. mail to receive their prescription medications. There are already reports from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, which fills 80 percent of its prescriptions by mail, that veterans have experienced significant delays in their mail-order prescription drugs. A delay in receiving a necessary prescription could be life-threatening. My patients who rely on their insulin, or their inhalers, or any other type of medication can’t wait weeks to see whether or not their prescription will be delivered. Mail-order prescriptions can be particularly important in rural areas where the local pharmacy may be a long distance away. We also know that increasingly insurance plans are moving patients to mail-order services. Further, the recent COVID-19 pandemic has pushed more Americans to move their prescriptions to mail delivery so that they can avoid unnecessary exposures when obtaining their medications. This may be most important for those with chronic conditions, who are more likely to need a prescription and are also more at risk from a COVID-19 infection.

Any prescription medication can only be as effective as a patient’s ability to access it. We need to ensure that patients can continue to rely on the U.S. Postal Service to receive their critical medications.

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About the American College of Physicians

The American College of Physicians is the largest medical specialty organization in the United States with members in more than 145 countries worldwide. ACP membership includes 163,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students. Internal medicine physicians are specialists who apply scientific knowledge and clinical expertise to the diagnosis, treatment, and compassionate care of adults across the spectrum from health to complex illness. Follow ACP on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Contact: Jacquelyn Blaser, (202) 261-4572, jblaser@acponline.org