Raleigh pharmacist offers advice as mail slowdown may affect people’s medicine supplies

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Starting Friday, when you head to the mailbox, don’t expect everything to be there when you expect it. The U.S. Postal Service is slowing down about 30 percent of its deliveries as part of an overhaul to deal with a $160 billion debt.

Millions of Americans rely on the mail to get their medications. The idea of mail-order prescription service started off as a way to make it easier for people who live in rural America. Now it’s the standard way for many to get blood pressure pills, cholesterol-lowering statins, and drugs people take every day. But with that comes the anxiety as pills start to run out and the medicine is still in the mail.

So how can a bigger problem be avoided if the mail is about to get slower? First, stay organized.

“You’ve got to make sure you’ve got a medication pillbox that you’re putting your medications in and organizing so that you know when you’re running low that you’re not caught off guard by that,” said Brent Talley, pharmacist and owner of Hayes Barton Pharmacy in Raleigh.

It’s also important to not rely on rationing.

“If you miss a dose or two of it, it’s really not going to change you from a therapeutic outcome standpoint at all. But there are other medications where if you miss one single dose, it could be life-threatening, and a lot of people are on medications that fall under that category,” Talley said.

Some insurance companies won’t let people use a local pharmacy for long-term medication. They’ll often make exceptions in order to give people enough time for the mail to arrive.

“And they will authorize you to be able to get a small supply from a local pharmacy that you can use until the other one gets there. So, there are other ways around it,” Talley said.

It’s still worth asking whether you can use a local pharmacy permanently. You can also check for quicker delivery options. Sometimes mail-order companies will even pay the difference if they know you’re running out of medicine.

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