Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Dear Common Dreams Readers:
Corporations and billionaires have their own media. Shouldn't we? When you “follow the money” that funds our independent journalism, it all leads back to this: people like you. Our supporters are what allows us to produce journalism in the public interest that is beholden only to people, our planet, and the common good. Please support our Mid-Year Campaign so that we always have a newsroom for the people that is funded by the people. Thank you for your support. --Jon Queally, managing editor

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

Woman receives mail-order prescription medicine. (Photo: Getty Images)

Warren Demands DeJoy Resign or Be Removed After Probe Shows USPS 'Sabotage' Led to 'Potentially Life-Threatening' Medicine Delays

"We know Louis DeJoy is sabotaging the Postal Service—and our investigation reveals his scheming has slowed the delivery of mail-order prescription drugs, threatening health risks for millions of Americans during a pandemic."

Jake Johnson

Mail delays caused by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy's operational changes at the U.S. Postal Service are endangering the health of millions of Americans by significantly slowing deliveries of life-saving prescription medications for diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and other serious ailments.

That's according to new report (pdf) released Wednesday by Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bob Casey (D-Penn.), whose investigation into mail-order prescription delays revealed that major pharmacies have experienced slowdowns in the delivery of medications since DeJoy—a Republican megadonor to President Donald Trump—took charge of the Postal Service in June.

"We know Louis DeJoy is sabotaging the Postal Service—and our investigation reveals his scheming has slowed the delivery of mail-order prescription drugs, threatening health risks for millions of Americans during a pandemic."
—Sen. Elizabeth Warren

"We know Louis DeJoy is sabotaging the Postal Service—and our investigation reveals his scheming has slowed the delivery of mail-order prescription drugs, threatening health risks for millions of Americans during a pandemic," Warren said in a statement. "Our report is more evidence that Louis DeJoy's tenure has been a failure. He needs to resign and if he won't, the Board of Governors must remove him."

The senators' probe examined the impact DeJoy's mail service changes have had on five pharmacies—Cigna/Express Scripts, CVS Health, Walgreens Boots Alliance, UnitedHealth/Optum, and Humana—four of which are described as "heavily reliant" on the Postal Service for deliveries to patients. The report does not specify which pharmacies largely rely on USPS.

While the one pharmacy that depends mostly on private carriers for deliveries reported "not experiencing any unusual delays," the other four pharmacies told Warren and Casey that they have "experienced an average increase in delivery time of approximately half a day or more relative to 2019 or early 2020."

"This represents a significant delay, increasing delivery times by 18-32%," the report notes. "In general, this meant that deliveries that would typically take 2-3 days were instead taking 3-4 days."

The pharmacies stressed that many patients saw "much longer delays," with some reporting "shipment delays of seven days or more." One pharmacy said it has "seen an increase in the number of prescription orders taking significantly longer to deliver than our target time frames."

"The number of orders taking over five days to deliver has risen dramatically since the onset of the pandemic," the pharmacy told Warren and Casey. "We are currently seeing an increase in our calls, complaints, and reship requests due to concerns with receiving orders in a timely fashion and/or questions about USPS issues in general."

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, at least 14 million Americans enrolled in either Medicare Part D or large employer plans used mail-order pharmacies for at least one prescription in 2018, and reliance on the USPS for medicine deliveries has only grown during the coronavirus pandemic.

Casey, ranking member of the Senate Aging Committee, said in a statement "the steps that this administration and Postmaster General DeJoy have taken to undermine the Postal Service have jeopardized the health and well-being of millions of Americans who rely on timely delivery of their prescriptions via the Postal Service."

"This report shows what we have feared all along—that Postmaster DeJoy's efforts are having real, potentially life-threatening, consequences for people that depend on the Postal Service," said Casey. "The Postal Service Board of Governors must hold the Postmaster General accountable for this sabotage and Congress must provide emergency USPS funding."

Warren and Casey summarize their findings in a letter (pdf) sent Wednesday to the Trump-friendly USPS Board of Governors, which unanimously appointed DeJoy in May despite his numerous potential conflicts of interest and complete lack of experience working for the Postal Service.

Describing DeJoy's mail changes as a grave threat to "families that rely on the Postal Service for the delivery of life-sustaining medications," the senators call on the board to immediately reverse "any and all actions taken during Postmaster General DeJoy's tenure that degrade or delay postal operations and the delivery of the mail."

"These delays are unacceptable outcomes under any circumstances, but are made even worse by the ongoing pandemic," Warren and Casey write. "The findings of our investigation reveal that your failure to fix the service delays caused by Postmaster General DeJoy represent an ongoing public health threat and a dereliction of your responsibility to the American public."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

"I'm sure this will be all over the corporate media, right?"
That’s what one longtime Common Dreams reader said yesterday after the newsroom reported on new research showing how corporate price gouging surged to a nearly 70-year high in 2021. While major broadcasters, newspapers, and other outlets continue to carry water for their corporate advertisers when they report on issues like inflation, economic inequality, and the climate emergency, our independence empowers us to provide you stories and perspectives that powerful interests don’t want you to have. But this independence is only possible because of support from readers like you. You make the difference. If our support dries up, so will we. Our crucial Mid-Year Campaign is now underway and we are in emergency mode to make sure we raise the necessary funds so that every day we can bring you the stories that corporate, for-profit outlets ignore and neglect. Please, if you can, support Common Dreams today.

 

Right-Wing Justices Should Be Impeached for Lying Under Oath, Says Ocasio-Cortez

"We have a responsibility to protect our democracy," said the New York Democrat. "That includes holding those in power who violate the law accountable."

Kenny Stancil ·


'Infuriating': Biden Rebuked for Continued Opposition to Supreme Court Expansion

"What does Biden 'agree' with doing?" Mehdi Hasan asked. "What does the leader of this country want to do to stop the increasingly fascistic assault on our democratic institutions and basic rights?"

Kenny Stancil ·


'We Need Action': Biden, Democrats Urged to Protect Abortion Access in Post-Roe US

"The Supreme Court doesn't get the final say on abortion," Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Tina Smith wrote in a new op-ed.

Kenny Stancil ·


Motorist 'Tried to Murder' Abortion Rights Advocates at Iowa Protest, Witnesses Say

Although one witness said the driver went "out of his way" to hit pro-choice protestors in the street, Cedar Rapids police declined to make an arrest.

Kenny Stancil ·


'A Hate Crime': Oslo Pride Parade Canceled After Deadly Shooting at Gay Bar

A 42-year-old gunman has been charged with terrorism following what Norway's prime minister called a "terrible and deeply shocking attack on innocent people."

Kenny Stancil ·

Common Dreams Logo