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Mail-Order Prescriptions Delayed? Here's What to Do

MONDAY, Oct. 26, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Your mail-order prescriptions may be taking longer to get to you, but you can take steps to get your meds on time.

Recent U.S. Senate hearings found that average delivery times for prescriptions have recently increased 18% to 32%. These delays aren't only a matter of convenience -- many drugs are temperature-sensitive and patients may need them immediately.

"This is a critical issue for patients whose health depends on these medications," said Nicha Tantipinichwong, a clinical geriatric pharmacist at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles.

To ensure you have the medications you need, Tantipinichwong recommends ordering refills early.

"Now is not the time to wait until the very last minute," she said in a hospital news release. "If you know you will need a refill, place the order a minimum of two weeks early."

When you refill a prescription online, pay attention to messages that the U.S. Postal Service is experiencing delays. Patients can decide if they want to pay extra for a different shipping method or next-day delivery.

"There may be a slightly higher cost associated with these shipping services, but it may bring you greater peace of mind," Tantipinichwong said.

Even if you order in advance or pay for speedier shipping, there still can be problems. That's where your local pharmacy can help, she said.

A pharmacist can offer a temporary fill, or bridge prescription, usually enough for 15 to 30 days, to cover you until your mail-order prescription arrives.

To get a bridge prescription, call your local pharmacy and request an "override mail service," Tantipinichwong advised. This will allow the local pharmacy to process a temporary refill with your insurance company.

More information

For more on mail-order prescriptions, head to the diaTribe Foundation.

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