The majority of the Americans prefer to get their medications directly delivered to their homes instead of picking the same at a pharmacy or hospital. Prescription deliveries can avoid exposure to coronavirus, the illness caused by SARS-CoV-2. Since there is a surge in deliveries, and it has stained the system, the Trump administration opposed additional funding towards the U.S. Postal Service. But some patients reported that they experienced delays in the medication deliveries.
A poll, Ipsos found that one out of five Americans received their medication through the mail in the last few weeks. Among the group, one in four or at least 5 percent of all Americans reported that they experienced delay or non-delivery. The director of retail pharmacy services at West Virginia University Medicine, Joe Gonzaga said, “I think with the COVID pandemic … we’ve seen an increased interest in mailing and delivering medication.” Joe added, “Because of the demand, there’s a delay because there are so many prescriptions that need to get mailed out.”
In West Virginia, it is found that the majority of the aging population lives in rural areas. Virginia is the third-most-reliant state when it comes to mail-order prescriptions all over the country. The information is according to the data collected by the Kaiser Family Foundation before the pandemic. A registered pharmacist and strategic program manager working at health care tech company DrFirst, Heidi Polek, said,
“Prescription delays were an issue before the coronavirus pandemic. If it’s gotten worse, she’s worried these delays could harm patients.”It may not sound like a lot, but even one to two missed doses can have an impact, especially on medical conditions such as diabetes and heart diseases.”
She also added,
“That would be the detriment, that they miss a dose, and they’re not getting the effectiveness of their therapy.”
Gonzaga quoted that, “Pharmacies have had to rely on multiple methods of delivery such as FedEx, UPS, and even their courier service as a last resort. They reach out to their patients when they see a refill coming up.” Now, health care providers are encouraging patients to become proactive when it comes to their health and if their delivery is delayed.
Here is what measures they can take: Call their pharmacy: Irrespective of whether it is a mail-order or community pharmacy, it is essential that patient calls right away, as suggested by experts. They should find out the status regarding their prescription. If it is already filled and coming on its way, then pharmacies should work with doctors as well as the insurance company to bring a limited supply until the delivery of medications arrives.
Call the doctor: In case if patients didn’t get access to limited supply from the pharmacy, the place where they should pay in cash, they can reach out to doctors. Doctors will have samples of that medication, and if the patient gets that, he can wait for the order to arrive.
Contact Insurance Company: If the patient has already experienced a delay in medication, then he should think about bulk-in prescriptions or 90-day supply. Patients should find out if they can go for 90-day prescriptions. If they get it, they need not order a refill every month. But, they should find it as early as possible so they can request a refill. They should call the pharmacy before the medication prescribed runs out. The majority of the insurance companies allow patients to refill their prescriptions 10 or 7 days in advance.
Apart from this, there is one more change that, pharmacists in all 50 states can now give childhood vaccinations. The announcement is under a new directive to prevent future outbreaks of preventable diseases, measles, etc. The head of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Alex Azar, took the step. He used his emergency powers during the U.S. coronavirus epidemic. Later, it was declared a public emergency. On Wednesday, the directive was announced, and the same will temporarily preempt restrictions in at least 22 states starting the same fall.
Alex Azar’s move is mainly designed to help prevent vaccination rates from falling in the pandemic time. The report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said, Orders for childhood vaccines from doctors’ offices plummeted in late March and early April as their offices closed or saw fewer patients, raising concerns that vaccination rates would fall.” But there was a survey of pediatricians in May, and that suggested most offices were open and they were able to give recommended shots.
“More than half were able to take on new patients if needed. Another CDC report from late last month noted New York City saw a rebound in kids getting their shots. Nationwide annual numbers from the agency are not expected for another year.”
Azar said, “Especially as we approach the school season, it is critical that children have easy access to the pediatric vaccinations to enable them to get back to school as schools reopen.” The Trump administration continued to push daycare centers and schools to reopen since that could help parents return to work and revive the economy.
Azar said, “Currently, 28 states allow pharmacists to administer vaccinations to children. In 22 states, laws limit such vaccinations, including three states that prohibit pharmacists from giving immunizations to any kids.”
He added, “The HHS authorization allows state-licensed pharmacies to administer childhood vaccines without a doctor’s prescription. Pharmacists must first complete a training program, although many already have.”
The HHS Assistant Secretary for Health, Dr. Brett Giroir said, “The measure does not OK pharmacists to give shots to children younger than 3. Some of the most important childhood vaccinations are given to babies and toddlers, but pharmacists don’t have the training or medical support to administer doses to young children.” The majority of the childhood vaccinations are mostly given at pediatrician’s offices. Hence it is comparatively unusual for children to get vaccinated at pharmacies. Considering data from 2018, about 7 percent of childhood flu shots were given at pharmacies, based on the CDC’s data. More than that, it is far rarer for a child to get another childhood shot at drug stores.