Are prescription delivery services as good as they seem?

We live in a “right now” world, where we can have pretty much anything we want delivered to our doorstep from groceries to carryout to clothes to home décor. So, why not add prescriptions to that list?

Pharma Pac cares about the health of Americans, so it’s great to see other companies large and small caring and wanting to make difference in the health of Americans. Let’s take for example, Amazon. Amazon Pharmacy was created to provide prescription delivery services.

Convenience with a Cost

While Amazon is in the business of moving products and not keeping people healthy, we do agree that its prescription delivery services are a convenience that is priceless for those who physically cannot get to a pharmacy or even to their doctor’s office. But there’s a very important piece missing to this equation – the patient/doctor relationship and ultimately, patient adherence, or lack thereof.

According to the World Health Organization, Medication adherence can have a more direct impact on patient outcomes than the specific treatment itself.  (Brown & Bussell, 2011)

Yes, this prescription delivery service gets prescriptions into the hands of the patient (typically a 2-day delivery time), but what isn’t getting delivered is the relationship between patient and doctor and a full understanding of the treatment plan. So, the patient gets their medication, but that doesn’t mean they will take it as their doctor prescribed, or that they’ll even take it at all.

We mentioned there are patients who physically cannot get to a pharmacy or their doctor’s office, and in these cases, telehealth may be the only option. But even in these situations, doctors can walk their patients through the treatment plan, explain the medication, why they prescribed it, when to take it, and how it will help them. And, as a follow up to that telehealth visit, doctors who offer in office medication dispensing (also referred to as point-of-care medication dispensing) have the ability to mail prescriptions to their patients.

As a physician you can do more than just prescribe the medication and hope that patient gets the prescription filled and continues to maintain the doses required for therapeutic efficiency. According to U.S. Pharmacist, Article Medication Adherence: The Elephant in the Room:

Typically, adherence rates of 80% or more are needed for optimal therapeutic efficacy. However, it is estimated that adherence to chronic medications is around 50%.3 Adherence rates can go down as time passes after the initial prescription is written, or as barriers emerge or multiply. (Kim, PharmD, BCPS, BCACP, CPP, Combs, Downs, & Tillman III, PharmD Candidate, 2018)

Even beyond the convenience of prescription delivery is the costs of the medications. And though Amazon Pharmacy advertises discounts and special pricing for Prime members, physicians that offer point-of-care medication dispensing, are able to provide medications to their patients at a lower cost than most pharmacies, and in some cases under the co-pay amount.

When physicians offer in office medication dispensing, they are also creating a new revenue stream for their practice. Additionally, you’re creating a safe and trusted situation for your patients to help ensure they have all the information they need, regardless of an in-person or telehealth visit. In the end, you will positively impact their overall health and adherence.

If you’re not currently set up to provide in office medication dispensing services to your patients, we would love to walk you through our process and answer any questions you may have. Click here to get started.

References:
Brown, M. T., & Bussell, J. K. (2011). Medication adherence: WHO cares? Retrieved 4 22, 2021, from https://ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/pmc3068890
Kim, PharmD, BCPS, BCACP, CPP, J., Combs, K., Downs, J., & Tillman III, PharmD Candidate, F. (2018, January 19). Medication Adherence: The Elephant in the Room. Retrieved from US Pharmacist: https://www.uspharmacist.com/article/medication-adherence-the-elephant-in-the-room

Scroll to Top