Delivery of Safeway prescriptions halted on short notice

Illustration by Kat Barton

By Madeline Cox

A review of Oregon’s Board of Pharmacy rules revealed that it is illegal for Safeway Pharmacy to deliver prescriptions to Lewis & Clark, despite this procedure being in place for many years. Safeway has ceased delivering prescriptions to LC due to this review.

According to Chapter 855 Division 41 of Oregon’s Board of Pharmacy, “Except when delivering directly to a patient, licensed pharmacists may not participate in the transfer of completed prescription medication containers to or from any location that is not a licensed pharmacy.”

“Safeway reviewed the procedure that they were doing and found out that it didn’t comply (with the Board of Pharmacy rules),” Student Health Service Director Margaret Upton said.

Safeway has had a history of delivering prescriptions to LC, and this change in procedure was very sudden.

“We got a one-day notification,” Upton said. “We were blindsided.”

This is a sudden change for students as well. Students who previously received prescriptions through Safeway’s delivery service can receive mail order prescriptions to LC.

“While under Oregon law we are prwohibited from delivering patients’ prescriptions to campus, non-driving students can have their prescriptions mailed directly to their home,” Safeway Division Pharmacy Manager Jill Bott said in a statement.

Instead of going through Safeway and Student Health Services, students are able to get prescriptions directly through their insurance company.

“One thing (students) can do is a mail order service through their insurance company,” Upton said. “Usually those are less expensive, if they’re getting routine medications that they want delivered.”

LC’s student health insurance plan carrier, PacificSource, allows for mail order deliveries of prescription medications to LC.

“PacificSource Insurance does have two mail order companies that they (use),” Upton said. “One is (CVS) Caremark and the other is Wellpartner.”

If students have health insurance plans outside of that provided by LC, they can still receive mail order prescriptions.

“Most other insurances have mail order options for routine medications,” Upton said.

Another option for students is to pick up their prescriptions directly from their pharmacy.

“The other alternative for students … and something that students can advocate for is getting the Pio bus to run more frequently to the pharmacies,” Upton said.

Student Health Services would not be able to receive prescription deliveries from other pharmacies, as the Board of Pharmacy ruling affects all pharmacies in Oregon.

“It’s through the Board of Pharmacy ruling. It’s Oregon-wide,” said Upton. “It’s pretty clear in there that it’s not really a great process.”

The Student Health Service pharmacy has specific medications available immediately for students and is considering increasing their stock since they are no longer receiving deliveries from Safeway.

“(For) medications that people need right away, we do have in-house pharmacy for antibiotics and a few other medications that we don’t want students to have a delay (for),” Upton said. “We may increase what we carry if we’re finding there’s a huge need for that, we’ll review that as time goes by.”

 

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