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Old 04-13-2007, 12:20 AM
Location: Michigan
29,391 posts, read 55,579,134 times
Reputation: 22044


PUTNAM COUNTY -- Putnam County commissioners are considering participation in a prescription drug discount card program that could benefit Putnam residents in buying prescription drugs at a lower cost.

Commissioner Johnnie Wheeler brought the proposal for commissioners' consideration during Monday night's Fiscal Review Committee meeting, and the committee voted in favor of the proposal, meaning it will move on for consideration by the full commission Monday night.

"It (drug card) can be used by anyone, seniors, the jail population," Wheeler told commissioners. "It's no cost to the county, no cost to the citizen. We just have to sign a contract."

The program is being offered by the National Association of Counties or NACo, a national association of county government that provides assistance to and lobbies on behalf of county governments.

Andrew Goldschmidt, who is director of membership marketing for NACo, said they offered the prescription drug discount card program as a pilot program back in 2004 to 17 counties in response to county officials asking for help in the cost of prescription drugs.

"It was going so successfully with the 17 counties that the NACo board decided to roll the program out to all the membership," Goldschmidt said.

Now, 700 counties nationwide participate in the program, and another 500 are considering it, according to Goldschmidt.

The way the program works is that the cards are available to anyone and can be handed out or just be available at public buildings.

Individuals can present the card to their pharmacist for an average 22 percent savings on medications not covered by insurance.

"It's saved 29 million dollars nationwide," Goldschmidt said.

He said he's heard several individuals saving large amounts of money including one woman who saved $1,000 on her $6,000 cancer drugs.

The cards can also be used for discounts on pet medications.

Goldschmidt said that NACo contracts with the pharmacy benefit management company Caremark for the program, and Caremark negotiates with manufacturers and pharmacies for the discount.

"The pharmacist gets access to a set amount of customers, a set amount of traffic," Goldschmidt said.

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