Mail order pharmacies, including online pharmacies, have their benefits; your medicine comes right to your doorstep, you have more privacy regarding your medication, and, usually, you don’t have to spend as much as you would in a brick-and-mortar pharmacy. A new study of diabetic patients, “Safety and Effectiveness of Mail Order Pharmacy Use in Diabetes,” finds that using mail-order pharmacies may actually prevent negative health outcomes more so than walk-in pharmacies.
The study focused on diabetics because they are at high risk of being prescribed contraindicated medications (ones that would interfere with their normal drug regimens) and often require laboratory work to monitor the effectiveness of their medications. Some may think that patients using mail order pharmacies will experience more negative health outcomes than those using walk-in pharmacies because they do not have face-to-face interactions with pharmacists.
The study found that use of mail order pharmacies “was not negatively associated with patient safety outcomes overall, suggesting that mail order use does not serve as a barrier to receiving primary and preventive care services for most patients.” In fact, the study showed that mail order pharmacy users under 65 were less likely than local pharmacy users to visit emergency rooms. However, mail order pharmacy users under 65 on a subset of diabetic medications were more likely to forego a recommended serum creatinine lab test within 30 days. Patients over 65 who used mail order pharmacies were also less likely than local pharmacy users to have preventable emergency room visits. Despite the health benefits of mail order pharmacy, the study cautions that preventive and primary care must be kept in mind when encouraging their use.
We’re pleased to see the health benefits of mail order pharmacies highlighted in this study; after all, reputable online pharmacies are mail order pharmacies that allow patients to access medication safely and affordably.