August 21, 2020

Cortez Masto Demands Postal Service Address Delivery Delays of Veterans’ Prescription Drugs

Las Vegas, Nev. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) joined Senators Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Gary Peters (D-MI), Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and 29 of her colleagues in sending a letter to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and VA Secretary Robert Wilkie demanding immediate action following reports of significant delays in veterans’ prescription medications through the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). The letter urges USPS to correct operational changes that are needlessly delaying veterans’ access to life-saving prescriptions.

“Millions of veterans rely on timely deliveries from the United States Postal Service (USPS) to receive their prescription medications from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA),” wrote the Senators. “Veterans and the VA should be able to count on USPS for the timely delivery of essential prescription drugs... No veteran should have to wonder when their antidepressant or blood pressure medication may arrive – and the effects can be devastating if doses are missed.”

The Senators continued, “USPS needs to immediately cease operational changes that are causing mail delays so that veterans do not needlessly suffer from illnesses exacerbated by delayed medication deliveries. Those who gave so much to serve this country should be able to count on the nation’s Postal Service to deliver their medications in a timely manner.”

Full text of the letter can be found here

BACKGROUND:

In July, Sen. Cortez Masto cosponsored a resolution outlining the importance of the U.S. Postal Service and urging increased funding in the next COVID-19 relief package to help the key agency offset losses incurred due to the pandemic. The resolution also makes clear that the USPS should not be forced to reduce its services, close post office facilities, or excessively raise rates.  

The VA fills about 80 percent of its prescriptions through their Consolidated Mail Outpatient Pharmacy (CMOP), which primarily uses the U.S. Postal Service to deliver to veterans’ homes. The VA CMOP fills almost 120 million prescriptions a year, with deliveries arriving daily to about 330,000 veterans across the country. According to the VA website, “prescriptions usually arrive within 3 to 5 days.” Reports from veterans and VA staff have said that recently these medications are sometimes taking weeks to be delivered and causing veterans to miss doses of vital medications.

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