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Senators open investigation into prescription delays through Postal Service

Senators open investigation into prescription delays through Postal Service
© Greg Nash

Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenPorter loses seat on House panel overseeing financial sector OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Nine, including former Michigan governor, charged over Flint water crisis | Regulator finalizes rule forcing banks to serve oil, gun companies | Trump admin adds hurdle to increase efficiency standards for furnaces, water heaters DeVos mulled unilateral student loan forgiveness as COVID-19 wracked economy: memo MORE (D-Mass.) and Bob CaseyRobert (Bob) Patrick CaseyCapitol Police officer hailed as hero for drawing rioters away from Senate chamber Scranton dedicates 'Joe Biden Way' to honor president-elect Grassley tests positive for coronavirus MORE (D-Pa.) on Thursday announced an investigation into delays in mail-order drug prescriptions, which they attributed to “sabotage” of the United States Postal Service by the Trump administration.

"Millions of Americans with diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease, asthma, and other chronic conditions, illnesses or health care needs rely on the USPS for delivery of their prescription drugs and are at grave risks if President TrumpDonald TrumpCIA chief threatened to resign over push to install Trump loyalist as deputy: report Azar in departure letter says Capitol riot threatens to 'tarnish' administration's accomplishments Justice Dept. argues Trump should get immunity from rape accuser's lawsuit MORE's efforts to degrade the mail service results in delays and disruptions," they wrote.

The senators cited reports in the Philadelphia Inquirer of “significant delays” in mail delivery across the region, as well as reports of seniors waiting days for vital medications. Demand has significantly increased for mail-order prescriptions as a result of social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic.

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The senators also wrote to the five major pharmacies and pharmacy benefit managers to request information on the number of mail-in prescriptions they have filled each month of 2020.

“Yesterday, Postmaster General Louis DeJoyLouis DeJoyJudge approves deal to expedite Georgia runoff ballots DeJoy's calendar released by Postal Service is almost entirely redacted Postal employees report backlogs across the country amid holiday shipping MORE announced that he would suspend his changes to postal operations until after the election,” they wrote in the letters. “But this vague statement did not allay our concerns: it is unclear if he will reverse changes that have already been made, or if he will fully resume all operations and eliminate and prevent further mail service delays.”

The Department of Veterans Affairs has also reported issues with mail delivery of prescriptions in recent weeks, forcing the department to find alternate means of delivery. The House Energy and Commerce Committee this week launched a similar investigation into prescription delays.

“My patients who rely on their insulin, or their inhalers, or any other type of medication can’t wait weeks to see whether or not their prescription will be delivered,” Jacqueline Fincher, president of the American College of Physicians, said in a statement.