Cheap(er) drugs: County offers discount Rx card

Who doesn't love a bargain, and how often do you get one from local government–- on your Viagra?

Albemarle County is offering a prescription discount card that can cut the cost of drugs on average of 22 percent.

And it has nothing to do with national health care reform.

The discount card is courtesy of NACo–- the National Association of Counties–- an organization that represents more than 3,000 counties, among them, Albemarle.

But why discount drugs from an organization whose main job is lobbying Congress?

"The history of the program goes back to 2000 when we surveyed members and they asked if we could do anything about the cost of presciptions," says Andrew Goldschmidt, NACo director of membership marketing.

With 1,400 counties joining in, NACo was able to negotiate pricing with manufacturers on drugs, says Goldschmidt. The result: 29 million prescriptions have been filled at a savings of $340 million.

"It's not just for the un-insured," says Goldschmidt. "It's for the under-insured as well."

For example, a lot of insurance plans exclude "lifestyle" drugs, such as birth control or the ones that help stave off baldness or erectile dysfunction, and those get discounts with the card, he says.

About 70 percent of pet medications use the same base as human drugs, says Goldschmidt, so those doggie meds are discountable as well.

"It does not cost taxpayers anything," says Goldschmidt. Nine out of 10 pharmacies participate, many for the foot traffic discount drugs bring, and most of the savings to citizens are between 15 percent and 30 percent, he adds.

The card can be printed from the NACo website, and Albemarle has information on its website about where they can be picked up.

Lots of local pharmacies take the card, including chains like CVS and independents like Timberlake's and Parkway Pharmacy.

Lest Charlottesville residents feel left out on the discount
drug deal, actually, they can pick up a card and use it too, says
Goldschmidt. The generic card doesn't require a name or address, and is valid as long as it's used in a county that has participating pharmacies.

Keith Drake with Albemarle Truth in Taxation Alliance often casts a skeptical eye toward county spending. He admits he doesn't know much about the discount card, and one of his first reactions is, "I'm dubious when the county says there's no cost to taxpayers."

But when he learns some pet meds are covered, Drake, the owner of two aging canines, says, "I'm definitely going to look into it."

And as a "free market kind of guy," Drake embraces groups that can get together to negotiate lower prices. "That's the way the free market works," he says.


Very interesting, saw the blog today and will keep on reading it :)

Also to add to this information BOTH independents , Timberlakes and Parkway Pharmacy accept

the CVS and WALMART Humana cards!!!!!!

Keith Drake, a self-professed "free-market" guy, who never misses an opportunity to bash government (except, of course when it is his party and its policies that pile up debt, turn Wall Street into a taxpayer-subsidized casino, lose millions of jobs and break the economy) is considering signing up for a GOVERNMENT-sponsored and issued prescription drug discount card?

Isn't this a back-door admission by Drake that government can and does help markets to work?

And by extension, doesn't Drake's tacit acknowledgement suggest that the health care reform legislation (that conservatives deride) is likely to succeed? And doesn't it imply that the health care reform legislation, will indeed, help millions of people and result in lower health care costs?

Keith Drake should just come clean. Perhaps he ought to admit that his organization is a sham, that it puts out misleading and false data and is bettered named the Albemarle UNtruth in Taxation Alliance (Keith, how many of your members have their landed estates placed in the county's land-use tax subsidy program?).

Maybe Keith Drake should just 'fess up and admit that the presidents and policies that he has supported produced deficit after deficit, ballooned the nation's debt, caused the Great Recession, and transferred billions, if not trillions, of dollars from the public treasury to the coffers of corporations and oligarchs.

Perhaps Drake (and his conservative brethren) should apologize, and seek a better way, a way that "promotes the general welfare" of society.

After all, Keith (and your fellow conservatives), it is "definitely" far past time and well worth "taking a look into it."