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Military family members and retirees in Germany who use Tricare's mail order system for prescriptions will have to fill their medications locally by the end of the year.
On or near that date, the U.S. Postal Service will stop delivering pharmaceuticals to APO and FPO addresses in Germany because a host-nation law prohibits importation of medications through the mail, according to a letter sent Oct. 1 by Tricare to beneficiaries in the country.
According to a Pentagon release, the German government passed the law barring pharmaceutical importation in 2006, but it was never enforced until now because its application to U.S. service members, their families and other Tricare beneficiaries had been unclear.
German officials, U.S. military leaders and USPS have clarified the issue and agreed to begin enforcement, said Brig. Gen. Bryan Gamble, deputy director of Tricare Management Activity.
The Pentagon estimates the new restrictions will affect roughly 2,000 prescriptions and make getting medicine more challenging for 33 patients who use the Tricare mail order service and live more than an hour away from a U.S. military treatment facility and use the service.
Gamble encouraged the beneficiaries to switch their prescriptions to a U.S. military treatment facility or use their Tricare pharmacy benefit at a local German pharmacy. Both the Tricare Prime Overseas and Tricare Prime Remote Overseas programs will reimburse affected beneficiaries for 100 percent of their out-of-pocket costs if they have authorization.
Deductibles and cost shares will apply for beneficiaries who use Tricare Standard Overseas.
USPS estimates it will stop shipping medications by mail around Jan. 1, but the date is not finalized, Gamble said. "We will notify you promptly when we have updated information on this issue," he wrote.
The new law also applies to Defense Department civilian employees or any American who lives in Germany and receives medications by mail.