Some assisted living and independent living residents are receiving unsolicited calls to move their prescriptions from their independent pharmacies to Amazon’s PillPack, according to a media report, which describes it as a “growing practice.”

“Claims surrounding this alleged practice began almost immediately after Amazon bought PillPack” in 2019, Pharmacy Times reported, citing a CNBC report.

Pharmacists who spoke with the publication said the calls confuse residents, who think they are coming from their current pharmacies or insurance companies. “None of the customers realized that they were transferring their medications to another pharmacy,” one pharmacist said.

A PillPack spokeswoman said that the company only requests prescription transfers with the customer’s explicit and documented consent.

American Society for Consultant Pharmacists Chief Executive Chad Worz, PharmD, BCGP, told McKnight’s Senior Living that the organization has not heard from any pharmacies experiencing similar customer issues.

“We have not heard specific concerns from our members on this practice,” he said.

Such practices, Worz said, would be more likely to occur with assisted living residents rather than skilled nursing residents, due to the nature of the settings.

In skilled nursing, he said, “pharmacy services are generally contracted to pharmacies that specialize in long-term care. The services required would go beyond what national mail order-type pharmacies would be able to provide.”

In some assisted living settings, however, Worz said, “it is more likely that services could be managed by national mail order-type pharmacies where patients may acquire their medications directly from pharmacies and self-administer those medications.”

Assisted living communities that serve residents with higher-acuity needs or those with dementia, however, may be more likely to contract with a pharmacy provider as do nursing facilities, “to ensure medication procurement and effective management is safe and efficient for the nursing staff and the patients,” he said. Pharmacy providers, Worz added, can address ordering, packaging, proper storage, nurse administration and emergency access.