Keep mail-order prescription drugs safe from the heat - | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

CBS 5 Advocate

Keep mail-order prescription drugs safe from the heat


A Mesa woman says her mail-order pharmacy won't help keep her prescription medications safe and effective, by shipping them in temperature-controlled packaging.

According to FDA guidelines, mail-order pharmacies are required to send certain prescription drugs in heat-resistant packaging. But just because some medications don't require that type of special packaging, that doesn't mean you want them sitting in a hot mailbox.

"I want my drugs safe," Kathy Robinson said.

To get a discount on her medications, Robinson's health plan requires her to use a mail-order pharmacy. She says her provider, OptumRx, won't comply with a simple request.

"OptumRx does not want to deliver my medications, via the mail, in a thermal package," Robinson said.

Robinson's medications don't require temperature-controlled packaging, but she's concerned if they sit in her mailbox a day or two, while she's away, they could lose effectiveness.

"I don't know who makes these rules, as far as who can get thermo-packaging and who can't," Robinson said.

With Arizona's searing August heat, the shipping temperature would seem to be well above the storing temperature stated on the label. Robinson says her capsules frequently arrive stuck together. Since OptumRx won't use thermo-packaging, she's come up with an alternative.

"I have asked for them to send it to me with signature request," Robinson said.

Sounds like a good solution, to keep her medications out of a hot mailbox, but Robinson says OptumRx hasn't given her an answer yet. She still thinks thermo-packaging upon request shouldn't be a problem.

"They do have the money, but they're cutting back on every single expense, and some of that expense, is shipping," Robinson said.

OptumRx confirmed for CBS 5 News that customers can get "signature receipt" delivery of mail-order medications. There is normally a shipping charge from the delivery company attached, but in this specific case, as a goodwill gesture for her inconvenience, OptumRx says they will waive Robinson's shipping charges. So, if any other readers are concerned about this issue, contact your pharmacy provider, and see if they will do the same.

That may be your best option, because the Food and Drug Administration and drug makers come up with shipping requirements for medications, and if a thermo-package is not required, most mail-order pharmacies won't use them.

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