A FedEx package with $18,000 worth of medicine was placed in a mailbox and removed by the U.S. Postal Service. It took a week for it to resurface back at the pharmacy.
FedEx delivered a package of expensive and vital chemotherapy medicine to a 68-year-old patient’s mailbox one morning during the week leading up to Christmas.
About 30 minutes later — before Laura Helling-Christy even knew to retrieve it — the package was gone, removed by a U.S. Postal Service mail carrier.
Ultimately, the shipment was returned just more than a week later to the pharmacy that initially sent it, but not before the Edina woman had to scramble and ultimately rationed her meds as she approached the end of her prescription.
On Wednesday, FedEx issued an apology.
“The safe and secure delivery of our customers’ shipments is of the highest importance,” the company said in a statement. “We recognize the sensitivity of the package contents, and working directly with Ms. Helling-Christy, we have assured her that we are thoroughly reviewing the circumstances behind this matter and will take appropriate action to help prevent something like this from happening again.”
The Postal Service (USPS) said in a statement mailboxes are intended only for receipt of postage-paid U.S. Mail. In Helling-Christy’s case, the Postal Service said the package was returned to FedEx.
“USPS understands the concern of the customer; however, the carrier was following standard procedures,” the Postal Service said in a statement.
When the delivery problem first surfaced, pharmacists asked Helling-Christy’s health insurer to pay for a replacement prescription, but the carrier “did not have an option for this,” said Sarah Theisen, the pharmacist-in-charge at HealthPartners Specialty Pharmacy. “To replace it would have been the full out-of-pocket cost of $18,000, which is not really an option for anyone.”