August 18, 2020
The Council of Medical Specialty Societies (CMSS) is deeply troubled by reports of changes in the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). As leading medical organizations that represent more than 800,000 physician members across 45 specialty societies, we call on the federal government to support the U.S. Postal Service to ensure that patients can continue to receive their critical medications in a timely manner.
We make this urgent request for the millions of Americans who depend on USPS to receive their medications in a timely manner. Some of our most vulnerable patients, including our nation’s veterans, are highly dependent on mail-order prescriptions. In 2020, the Department of Veterans Affairs’ mail order pharmacy will process an estimated 120 million outpatient prescriptions, 80% of which are sent by mail.
The inability of USPS to perform its basic functions is already delaying medication delivery. Across the country, and especially in rural areas, Americans are not receiving critical prescriptions, including anticoagulants, cardiac medications, transplant-related immunosuppressants, anti-seizure agents, anti-depressants, inhalers, insulin, oral chemotherapy, and injectable biologics. Delays have also led to lifesaving medications arriving in poor condition, such as when access to prompt refrigeration is needed. Missed doses of these medications puts patients at unnecessary risk to their health, including complications related to cancer, diabetes, heart disease, kidney diseases, and asthma.
Without timely access to their medications, Americans may be forced to make avoidable emergency department visits or be hospitalized. Given the COVID-19 pandemic, it is extremely important that every effort be made to reduce unnecessary exposures.
The 45 specialty society members of CMSS, and the more than 800,000 US physicians they represent, are committed to the health of every American. CMSS urges the federal government to support the U.S. Postal Service to ensure that millions of Americans can continue to receive their critical medications in a timely manner.