LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - A change is coming to the prescription filling process for veterans here in Central Arkansas. Effective August 18th, veterans will no longer automatically receive new prescription orders in the mail.
"Currently all new medications are automatically mailed to the veteran if they are not picked up," said Tim Cmelik, Chief of Pharmacy of Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System. "Sometimes the veteran does not want to take those."
Cmelik said the process has been used in the private sector for years. He believes it will empower veterans and give them a more active role in their own healthcare process.
"The biggest challenge is that it will require them to be more interactive with pharmacy and expressing their opinions and preferences," he said.
That interaction requires veterans to take more initiative with pharmacists. But Korean War veteran George English said that may be hard for some of his fellow veterans.
"There are some people out there- I've seen a lot of them that are elderly and even have some mental problems and it might be a hardship on them," he said.
"There aren't any exact figures across the nation but we do know that there's quite a few dollars lost," Cmelik said. "Not only in the drug costs themselves but in the processing times for all those unwanted medications."
He estimated the change will save the system between $500,000 and one million dollars each year.
But you can still have a refill mailed to your home, if you request it from the pharmacy.
"You can have anything mailed to you," Cmelik said. "But you do have to communicate with the pharmacy and then we'll basically do whatever your wishes are as to how to get the medication to you."