I'd like to hear from consumers about their experiences - good or bad - using mail-order pharmacies.
I'm especially interested in hearing from you if your health insurer either encourages or requires you to use mail order for filling prescriptions. Insurance companies say that mail order's efficiency saves money for both the insurers and their policyholders, who typically benefit via reduced co-pays for multi-month supplies of medications prescribed for chronic conditions or preventive care.
As I reported in my column in Sunday's Inquirer, "Pa. pharmacists push for parity with mail order," it's clear that some consumers have mixed feelings, at best, about the tradeoff. They like the savings but don't like the process: having to send in the prescription, waiting a few days or a week for their medicine, and losing the face-to-face contact with a pharmacist.
It's also clear that the push toward mail order doesn't set well with Pennsylvania's traditional bricks-and-mortar pharmacists, who complain about the loss of revenue and echo many of the consumers' objections. They plainly resent the sense that they are viewed as anachronisms who are easily replaced by a mail-order pharmacy's phone systems - even if mail-order systems provide "24/7 pharmacist counseling," as I was told by Mark Merritt, president of the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association,