Prescription assistance to be offered



By LAURE CIOFFI
VINDICATOR PENNSYLVANIA BUREAU
NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- Lawrence County residents without prescription drug coverage will soon be able to get discounts on prescriptions.
Lawrence County commissioners will be distributing free discount drug cards next month for a program the county is eligible to participate in because it joined the National Association of Counties.
There is no registration for the program that saves an average of 20 percent on prescription costs, officials said.
County Administrator Jim Gagliano said the county is currently in negotiations with area pharmacies to get them to participate and it should all be in place by Feb. 15.
According to a prepared statement from commissioners, other counties involved have independent and chain pharmacies who participate, including Wal-Mart pharmacies.
Commissioners noted this is not insurance, but just a help for those who have prescriptions not covered by health insurance. Everyone, regardless of age, health or income, is eligible to participate.
The average savings is 20 percent, but some discounts may be more, and some may be less. Cardholders are eligible for higher discounts on a three-month supply of some medications through mail service. Cardholders can save on pet prescriptions with the card at participating retail pharmacies, too.
How it's handled
The program is administered through Caremark Rx Inc., a pharmaceutical services company with experience managing drug discount card programs for sponsoring clients. Caremark negotiates with pharmacies to offer a discount off their retail prices. Caremark derives its revenue from a fee that the pharmacy pays on each transaction. Most pharmacies participate because it draws customers to the stores, the news release stated.
Commissioner Dan Vogler said they have about 20,000 cards that they plan to start distributing after Feb. 15. The cards will be available at the commissioners office and various agencies and local government offices, he said.
The program is already in effect in Mercer County.
cioffi@vindy.com

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