Factors Associated with Unclaimed Prescriptions at Military Pharmacies.Objective: Unclaimed prescriptions impose direct financial costs on health plans and their beneficiaries and may represent substandard care with costs for patients’ health. The objective of this study was to investigate the factors associated with the failure to pick up prescription drugs in the military health system (MHS), which offers health benefits to over 9 million active duty and retired military personnel and their dependents.
Results: The prevalence of unclaimed prescriptions in the MHS was approximately eight percent, but may be as high as ten percent. Reasons for not picking up prescriptions are related to characteristics of both the patient and the patient’s pharmacy of choice. Patient-related factors include not perceiving a need for the prescription, forgetting to pick up the prescription, and being too busy to pick up the prescription. Pharmacy-related reasons for not picking up prescriptions include that the prescription was not yet available or not in stock at the pharmacy and long wait times at the pharmacy. Measuring the prevalence of unclaimed prescriptions by patient self-report may result in under-reporting of the true number of unclaimed drugs. Of all interviewed beneficiaries identified by CHCS data as not picking up a drug, only 13 percent reported missing a prescription in the past year.