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Mail Order Drug Degradation

12/10/2014 2:30 PM

As an old guy, I have medications that, by rules set forth by my companies health care prescription drug program, must be received through the mail.

My concern is that certain medications are degraded by being exposed to conditions one would expect for a mail box in an exterior location. I have consulted with the prescription programs pharmacists and have been told it is not an issue.

Does anyone have an opinion on this?

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#1

Re: Mail Order Drug Degradation

12/10/2014 2:39 PM

That is a good question that actually had me do some investigating.

The mail service may be slow, but I dont't think its that slow.

Depending what the drug is and the form it comes in. Because the medication is organic based, The biggest issue may be temperature and light for anything to occur.

Any degradation that may occur, which I'm sure does, is nominal and unnoticeable.

The biggest issue on mail order I would believe would be the initial quality. As in are you getting it from reputable sources.

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#2
In reply to #1

Re: Mail Order Drug Degradation

12/10/2014 2:55 PM

My concern is not with delivery, it is with the fact that the mail box is exposed to the elements, to include the sunlight and prescriptions remain there until I get home from work.

I would much rather pick-up my prescriptions from a local pharmacy, but it is not permitted.

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#4
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Re: Mail Order Drug Degradation

12/10/2014 3:03 PM

my post wasn't based around the delivery, but the elements. Sunlight, temperature, etc.....

and I'll reiterate my biggest concern of mail order drugs and that is quality from the source.

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#3

Re: Mail Order Drug Degradation

12/10/2014 2:55 PM

It's not like the pharmacist go out and pick their drugs up fresh. The drugs are shipped to them too. So generally go though the same shipping condition that yours do. Generally the shelf life of the drugs is a lot longer then the expiration date they put on the bottle for the consumer. Unless they are very temperature sensitive drugs that must be refrigerated. I would think if the drugs were that temperature sensitive they would be shipped properly.

Your mail box does not get any hotter then the inside of a tractor trailer. The medication are not sent to you loose. Their packaged so sun light is not an issue.

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#5
In reply to #3

Re: Mail Order Drug Degradation

12/10/2014 3:05 PM

Also note that these mail order companies can move a lot of drugs. May be even supplying your local pharmacy. So they may be fresher then what you would get over the counter from the local guys.

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#17
In reply to #5

Re: Mail Order Drug Degradation

12/10/2014 6:47 PM

You pretty well echoed my thoughts.

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#6

Re: Mail Order Drug Degradation

12/10/2014 3:10 PM

Most drugs have a long shelf life, and then lose some potency gradually over time...There are some drugs that require low temperature storage, but these are not likely to be sent by mail...You can search the drugs you take on-line for peace of mind, which you should do in any case to check for compatibility with any other drugs or supplements you may be taking....Some drugs are known to work synergistically with other components, or even become toxic...It's always a good idea to check the side effects of drugs....they all have some, and your inquiry might answer some questions or alert you to some dangers you were unaware of....In my experience any drugs that require special handling or are time critical in their administration, the instructions are included in the prescription....

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#7

Re: Mail Order Drug Degradation

12/10/2014 3:42 PM

Drugs are NOT exposed to any direct sunlight. So you can rule that out. Unless you get your drugs delivered in a Mason jar, and no paper wrapper.

Heat, yes. Cold, yes.

But, unless you are talking about some type of liquid suspension, that might, possibly, but not likely freeze, I'd say it's not worth any worry.

Quality from the source is dependent on, and the responsibility, of your provider.

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#12
In reply to #7

Re: Mail Order Drug Degradation

12/10/2014 4:22 PM

If liquid suspension issue then altitude during shipment may apply and foil paks may rupture

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#8

Re: Mail Order Drug Degradation

12/10/2014 3:45 PM

Alright, mailbox modification project thread to limit temperature rise and possible damage to mail-order medications !!

How about the simple way and move your mail box to a letter box mounted in your front door so medication ends up in your house during the day instead?

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#18
In reply to #8

Re: Mail Order Drug Degradation

12/10/2014 6:55 PM

Maybe in New Zealand, but in the good ole U.S. of A. the Postal 'Service' has just about done away with front door delivery in favor of street-side boxes. If they have to get out of their vehicle, you aren't going to get your mail (unless it's an oversize parcel).

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#19
In reply to #18

Re: Mail Order Drug Degradation

12/10/2014 7:12 PM

We don't have them either. Damn you American TV and movies, you have lead me astray yet again !

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#20
In reply to #19

Re: Mail Order Drug Degradation

12/10/2014 7:25 PM

We don't watch much of the new TVshows/movies either .

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#9

Re: Mail Order Drug Degradation

12/10/2014 3:46 PM

Ok you guys, I am stuck with the questionable quality, mail-order set-up and finding an insulated mail box.

Thanks for the help!

I'm not feelin

g so good....

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#10
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Re: Mail Order Drug Degradation

12/10/2014 4:00 PM

Be careful... some sort of special mail receptacle may run afoul of USPS DMM 3.2.2 or USPS Standard 7: Mailboxes - City and Rural, Curbside.

I, like others who have chimed in, believe this is a non-issue. If you think it is, maybe shade the mail receptacle, or use a white one (absorbs less heat), or both.

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#11
In reply to #10

Re: Mail Order Drug Degradation

12/10/2014 4:16 PM

It is not that big of an issue except for the darn squirrels, who have learned to open the mail box. I didn't want to mention it, it's embarrassing..

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#13
In reply to #11

Re: Mail Order Drug Degradation

12/10/2014 4:44 PM

Maybe you can teach 'em to pay the bills.

Yeah, that could be a problem. I have squirrels hanging around my house, and I've watched 'em take trinkets up the trees into their nests. The other day, one dragged a plastic drink cup that he had found up into his nest.

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#15
In reply to #13

Re: Mail Order Drug Degradation

12/10/2014 5:08 PM

Yep, There is a hole in the tree across the street where they "hang out" I could have sworn I saw one peek out with shades on. That's why I am worried about the drugs.

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#14
In reply to #11

Re: Mail Order Drug Degradation

12/10/2014 5:08 PM

The squirrels are taking your drugs?

Mail yourself some ex lax.

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#16
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Re: Mail Order Drug Degradation

12/10/2014 5:15 PM

Yah, I could mail Viagra, get some model airplane props and turn em into flying squirrels!

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#22
In reply to #11

Re: Mail Order Drug Degradation

12/11/2014 3:55 AM

How about a padlock on the box or similar security, theft can be a problem with humans as well....

If Kris a Squirrel can open it thats rubbish.

Here they MUST have a lock with key!!! Or no mail will be delivered.....

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#23
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Re: Mail Order Drug Degradation

12/11/2014 4:16 AM

I'm making a list of names here !

Not many people in the UK have an American style mailbox at the edge of the property. People could, and it happens plenty, nick your mail. Usual case is just a letterbox in the door. If an item is too big and nobody is home, you have to rearrange delivery or visit the local mail depot. As for newspapers getting chucked on the lawn, what happens when it's raining ?

The squirrel foiling plans may backfire. Imagine the horror of one wedged in the mailbox due to viagra, and it's also got a bad dose of the ****'s .

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#25
In reply to #23

Re: Mail Order Drug Degradation

12/11/2014 7:02 AM

It's getting that way here, with deliveries from others such as UPS and FEDEX. They'll leave your packages at the door. And there are now people the watch for this and go to the door and take your packages.

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#27
In reply to #25

Re: Mail Order Drug Degradation

12/11/2014 9:21 AM

I saw a news report about a women who experienced package opening/ theft and filled a box with dog poop, carefully preparing it to look like a legit package. The opening of the package in the lobby and the surprised look on the face of the sub-human were caught on video.

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#29
In reply to #27

Re: Mail Order Drug Degradation

12/11/2014 9:57 AM

as much as I like that, it may start retributions from the dirtbag thief.

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#31
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Re: Mail Order Drug Degradation

12/11/2014 10:13 AM

True for the retribution, people have been killed for less:

  • Gym shoes.
  • Sidewise glance.
  • Wrong hood.
  • Wrong wife.
  • Puffy coat.
  • Wrong sports team.
  • Onions on "Hold the onions" order.
  • Antagonistic approach.
  • Wrong voice in head.
  • Squeaky bark doggies.
  • Parking spaces.
  • So on and so forth.......
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#32
In reply to #31

Re: Mail Order Drug Degradation

12/11/2014 10:26 AM

Posting anonymously and asking inane questions?

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#34
In reply to #31

Re: Mail Order Drug Degradation

12/11/2014 10:37 AM

but your box of dog pooh is still funny.

My girl friend shops a lot on line, we been getting quite a few packages sitting on our porch, and she also gets her medication also that way.

We never had a problem, but are neighbor is pretty good, but I understood that's what these thieves look for.

And I recently purchased a heating/cooling pad for my sleep number bed as well as a number of other items, this was also delivered on different dates, I thought at first that package was missing, and when I looked at the shipping it just did not ship yet.

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#26
In reply to #23

Re: Mail Order Drug Degradation

12/11/2014 8:49 AM

ROFLMAO!

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#33
In reply to #22

Re: Mail Order Drug Degradation

12/11/2014 10:32 AM

If the dern postal worker is too freaking lazy to walk up to a mail box, what makes you think he is going to bother unlocking one?

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#35
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Re: Mail Order Drug Degradation

12/11/2014 10:38 AM

postal workers are actually not lazy, .... well some of them are not. They are just following their union contract.

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#21

Re: Mail Order Drug Degradation

12/10/2014 11:35 PM

Some drugs degrade in cold and some in heat. Some rural mailboxes undergo both extremes and time may also be a factor. Perhaps a delivery with controlled conditions and delivered to real people is best.

http://www.cvs.com/help/help_subtopic_details.jsp?subtopicName=Refrigerated+medications&topicid=400035

http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2012/07/10/156575072/why-you-should-keep-medicines-out-of-summer-heat

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#24

Re: Mail Order Drug Degradation

12/11/2014 5:26 AM

If you are really that worried about your prescriptions sitting in your mail box for a day at most you could always rent a post office box and have them delivered there.

It will be an extra expense and a royal PIA to go there everyday to pick them up but they'd be inside a building.

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#28

Re: Mail Order Drug Degradation

12/11/2014 9:47 AM

Here you go. You may need a long extension cord though!

Seriously, I would be more concerned about the security of the mailbox rather than the temperature.

If the medication has a special handling procedure then it will be shipped in the correct manner. A lot of mail order meds are typically shipped in their sealed original containers because the quantities are greater. Typically a 90 day supply rather than a 30 day supply. If the drugs are considered a theft risk, I.E. narcotic pain killers. These are sent certified and must be signed for or delivered to a "Mailbox Store" where you have a P.O. Box. and the attendant signs for it and places it in your secure box.

Good luck.

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#30

Re: Mail Order Drug Degradation

12/11/2014 10:10 AM

You can always trap them by using dye-packs in your mail packages like this one found out.

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#36

Re: Mail Order Drug Degradation

12/11/2014 10:40 AM

If you are diabetic, and an insulin user, you should consult with your pharmacist and/or primary care provider (that used to be called doctor).

Things you could try:

(1) Insulate the mail box by making it into a double wall construction, similar to a Dewar flask (Thermos bottle). Inner box, foam insulation with aluminum backing (if not a vacuum bottle type)) outer box with reflective paint.

(2) If option (1) does not succeed, try installing a solar (PV) power pack and a mini chiller (if they make one small enough to apply cold to a mail box.) Maybe you should throw out the existing mailbox first, and use a cooler with a mailbox (insulated) door on it, especially one of the coolers that is powered to chill beverages. You can easily turn this into a low watt heater in the winter (more likely a no watt heater ).

(3) If options (1) and (2) fail to satisfy, install a pneumatic tube system at the curbside, with shuttles large enough for the mail. Getting the fat ax postal worker to press the "send" button make take some threats or bribery, or complaints to the local poostmeister.

Good luck, enjoy!

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#37

Re: Mail Order Drug Degradation

12/11/2014 10:47 AM

Everyone, thanks for your replies. I have decided to stop taking medications and be a "free spirit".

See you on the other side!

Peace Bros.

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#38
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Re: Mail Order Drug Degradation

12/11/2014 1:27 PM

Soooo I don't need to post my solar-powered, Peltier device cooled, aerogel-insulated, nano-tube reinforced, anti-Squirrel mailbox modification then.

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#39
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Re: Mail Order Drug Degradation

12/11/2014 2:44 PM

Jack of all trades,

I would love to see it, I may have a Peltier cooler available for installation. So, would there be an anti-squirrel laser guided TAZER device included? If you do, install a web cam so we can watch!!

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#40
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Re: Mail Order Drug Degradation

12/11/2014 4:11 PM

Well its not as good as my idea to train the squirrel to bring the medicine from the mailbox to the house. Funnily enough that also involves food and a TAZER-like training device.

Oh well, not needed now !

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#41
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Re: Mail Order Drug Degradation

12/11/2014 4:13 PM

LMAO

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#42

Re: Mail Order Drug Degradation

12/11/2014 8:02 PM

A Photovoltaic Powered Peltier Padlock Protected Postal Portal, hereinafter referred to as a PPPPPPP, sounds like a good idea.

My wife has thyroid problems and I know her tabs cannot be allowed to exceed 30 degC. Inside our house often exceeds that and so they are kept in the 'fridge. I looked up MIMS but could not find storage temps listed for any drugs. Unlike many other posters I would suggest that many drugs are temp sensitive especially once NORMAL temps are exceeded. Inside my letter box can be 70*C quite often. I call this outside normal and I would not accept posted drugs. Sometimes it is not the drug that is affected but the carrier medium. These can be organic and as such can "go off". Is "going off" Ozzie vernacular? "Off, like a raw prawn in the sun".

In our area I can opt to collect mail from the distribution point, an aircon building. Maybe you can also. Or build yourself a PPPPPPP.

Jim

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#43
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Re: Mail Order Drug Degradation

12/11/2014 8:43 PM

I nearly choked on my beer. LMAO.

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#44

Re: Mail Order Drug Degradation

12/12/2014 10:38 AM

Wow I have never head of meds that HAVE to come via mail. Maybe it is because of the insurance company has a deal with a mail order pharmacy and they can be less $. As for the SUN hitting the mailbox and making the contents very hot IF it IS your mailbox and if it is not built into the wall you may want to put a tent over it just enough to make shade. IF you can do that it would need a at least an inch or so air gap between the box and what ever you cover it with. That way it keeps most of the direct sunlight and heat off of it and the air gap lets the heat to excape and keeps your meds at whatever the outside temp is. Not like inside and exposed mailbox that is closed and the sun is hitting it. My mailbox has already a built in air gap as where you have outgoing mail is on the top and where the mailman puts the mail is on the bottom and gets minimal sunlight. If you can not cover it then paint it the most bright white you can get. Ad one drop of blue to a gallon of white pain will also help. You will not see the blue but it does help reflect the higher frequency part of the light more than just white. Any lite that does not reflect is tunrned into heat. IF you are normally home you can get several devices that will tell you when the mailman comes so you can go get the stuff right away. Oh yea If you have a health condition you can get permission to put the mailbox ON the house next to the front door or even have it go through the door so it is in the house. But you need a note from your Dr and give that to the mailman or go to the postoffice and tell them your situation With the Drs note and they can give you permission to use the house attached mailbox rather than one out on the street etc.. As far as damage to the meds. I have had several left in a hot car for a day or so and they were OK. But I do not think it is a good deal. Almost al drugs will say to keep them in a cool dry place and most will say NEVER allow in Temps above X and X is usually 80F or lower. Ceasre ( A Fellow old guy )

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#45

Re: Mail Order Drug Degradation

12/13/2014 10:41 PM

I have received temperature sensitive meds and was amazed at the level of effort that went into ensuring that the safe temperature was not exceeded, two inch foam walls, dry ice and frozen gel packs surrounding the meds.

You might find this article by a major logistics company somewhat comforting, obviously big pharma and its shipping partners work together to ensure the safety of the delivery process. As others have said, the same truck that delivers your package may deliver to your local drugstore but, of course they have a staff who immediately receives it. The only way that you can get it into a safer environment than your mailbox (without major modifications to it) is a PO box service or redirect delivery (if allowed) to a local neighbor who will agree to receive your package.

On the other hand, if you lack a prescription plan and you're doing mail order from another country because of the absurd pricing here, I would be concerned about the route it took to get here.

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