$30,000 Mail Order Waste Case Reinforces Need for Pharmacy Choice, Dispose My Meds Program

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Alexandria, Va. - March 19, 2012

The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) applauds the efforts of pharmacy owner and NCPA member John McDonald to highlight his recent collection of $30,000 in mail order waste from one patient as part of NCPA's Dispose My Meds consumer drug disposal program.

McDonald's store, Marra's Pharmacy in Cohoes, N.Y. was featured in a Albany CBS 6 affiliate news report on the collection of $30,000 worth of unopened, unused medications recently brought in by the son of a former county employee who had passed away. The collection included pills, insulin, insulin strips and more than 50 boxes of nasal spray.

As mayor of Cohoes, as well as a pharmacist, McDonald points out in the CBS story that, "Situations like this just drive up the costs for all of us. You have to strike the right balance of making sure that your employees get affordable health care but on the same token, you have to focus on managing the benefit properly."

This example is consistent with a recent NCPA report entitled, "Waste Not, Want Not," that documents the problem of medication waste associated with mail order pharmacies. The presentation has been delivered before the U.S. Congress in multiple hearings.

"The wasteful health care spending identified by John McDonald and CBS 6 may be a shocking and extreme case, but is indicative of a problem that is all too common and real," said Lonny Wilson, DPh, NCPA President and Executive Director, CEO of Pharmacy Providers of Oklahoma, Inc. (PPOk). "This case illustrates two important points. First, it is essential that health plan sponsors preserve the patients' freedom to choose a pharmacy provider. The face-to-face, patient-pharmacist interaction in a community pharmacy improves health outcomes and prevents the waste identified in this news report that is associated with 'auto-shipping' mail order programs. Second, community pharmacies can help patients discard their unused or expired medication in an environmentally responsible fashion through programs such as the NCPA Dispose My Meds initiative."

Launched in 2010, the NCPA Dispose My Meds program features over 1,400 independent community pharmacies nationwide at which consumers may be able to dispose of unused, non-controlled medications with postage-paid envelopes or participate in onsite programs where pharmaceuticals are collected and disposed of properly.

The accompanying website, www.disposemymeds.org, allows consumers to search for a participating pharmacy disposal program by city, state, or ZIP code. Some exclusions apply, including the collection of controlled substances. The program is ongoing and NCPA is encouraging other community pharmacies to voluntarily sign up for the program in coming weeks to highlight upcoming health care and environmental activities, including Earth Day, April 22.

The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA®) represents the interests of America's community pharmacists, including the owners of more than 23,000 independent community pharmacies. Together they represent a $93 billion health care marketplace, dispense nearly 40% of all retail prescriptions, and employ more than 315,000 people, including 62,400 pharmacists. Independent community pharmacists are readily accessible medication experts who can help lower health care spending. They are committed to maximizing the appropriate use of lower-cost generic drugs and reducing the estimated $290 billion that is wasted annually by improper medication use. To learn more go to www.ncpanet.org or read NCPA's blog, The Dose, at http://ncpanet.wordpress.com.

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