Choices in Prescription-Drug Benefit Programs: Mail versus Community Pharmacy Services

Pharmaceutical price increases and greater coverage of outpatient prescription medications have stimulated interest in containing drug benefit-program costs. While mail pharmacy services (MPS) may achieve savings through volume purchasing, high usage of generic drugs, and dispensing larger quantities of medication per prescription, efforts are also underway to adapt community-pharmacy-based services to keep costs down in these areas. No controlled studies document a difference in quality between the two types of services. Third-party administrators and benefit managers need to consider factors such as providing information to patients, monitoring drug therapy, dispensing patients’ correct medication, and cost-control incentives when assessing MPS’s role in prescription drug programs.

Author(s): Duane M. Kirking; Frank J. Ascione; James W. Richards

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Volume 68, Issue 1 (pages 29–51)
Published in 1990