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TRICARE Mail Order Pharmacy Program Demonstrates Safety, Cost-Effectiveness and Improved Health Outcomes

August 12, 2013

ST. LOUIS, -- Working with Express Scripts, the Department of Defense (DoD) TRICARE® mail order pharmacy program cost the government and beneficiaries less money than retail pharmacies and is a safe, effective way to deliver prescription drugs, a new DoD Inspector General audit has found.

At the request of Congress last year, the DoD Inspector General undertook an audit of the TRICARE mail order pharmacy (TMOP) program and found it saved 16.7 percent – nearly $67 million in the third quarter of fiscal year 2012 – when comparing the amount the government spent on prescription drugs through mail order and what it would have cost at retail pharmacies. Express Scripts administers the TRICARE mail order pharmacy program for 9.6 million TRICARE beneficiaries.

In addition, the audit found that the program offers a 99.997 percent prescription fill accuracy rate, high beneficiary satisfaction and improved patient outcomes.

"The TRICARE mail order pharmacy program has features that are advantageous for beneficiary health," said Nancy Gilbride, Vice President and General Manager of Express Scripts' Federal Pharmacy Services. "Another benefit of the TMOP program is the automatic refill and shipment option designed to ensure beneficiaries' medications are available on time without lapse. The TMOP program provides cost savings to the Department of Defense while potentially preventing health risks to DoD beneficiaries."

The Inspector General's analysis found that prescriptions filled through the TMOP program were 99.997 percent free of clinical errors, such as shipping the incorrect pharmaceuticals, while retail pharmacies on average were 98.5 percent error-free. Express Scripts attributes the higher dispensing accuracy, in part, to automated filling of high volume pharmaceuticals. Prescriptions filled by automation encountered various control mechanisms to ensure the medications were filled accurately and efficiently; therefore, reducing the potential of wasted pharmaceuticals and adverse health risks due to beneficiaries taking incorrect pharmaceuticals.

"We're proud to serve the pharmacy needs of those who protect us every day and it's an honor to help their families stay healthy. We do our job so that our men and women in uniform can focus on what's most important," said Gilbride. "We have developed a world-class capability to make the use of prescription drugs safer and more affordable and we're pleased that the recent DoD Inspector General audit confirms what we see every day: home delivery through a mail order pharmacy is the safest, most cost-effective way to receive prescription drugs."

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