Card Fills Prescription Market

June 3, 2005
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GRAND RAPIDS — Any Kent County resident who pays cash for prescriptions can plan to pay less with a new drug discount card.

The Physician’s Rx Care Pharmacy Benefit Program offers cardholders an average savings of 26 percent off the retail price of each prescription. Discounts are expected to average 15 percent on brand-name drugs and from 45 percent to 75 percent on generics.

The Kent County Medical Society (KCMS), the Kent County Osteopathic Association (KCOA), the Physician Leadership Access Network Inc. (PLAN) and Pharma Futures Inc. (PFI) came together to create the new program.

“With more than 74,000 uninsured in Kent County, and possibly an even greater number underinsured, the cost of prescription drugs can be a significant problem,” said Robert Richard, KCMS president.

KCOA President Kristopher Brenner said the discount card is free to everyone because the program doesn’t have any eligibility requirements, such as income or age. Family-practice physicians that belong to KCMS and KCOA have the cards, which can be used at more than 100 pharmacies in Kent County — including 56 in Grand Rapids.

“This discount card is good for virtually every drug on the market. It’s not limited to any drug formulary,” said Chip McClimans, KCMS/KCOA executive director.

“And one card may be used by all members of the cardholder’s immediate family,” he said.

PFI is the driving force behind the discounts and 45,000 drugstores are participating with it throughout the United States.

“It’s pharmacies all over the country. They’ve worked out some arrangement and I don’t know what it is,” said McClimans of PFI.

Kent County seniors who spend up to $1,000 on prescriptions each year would save more with the Physician’s Rx Care card than they would with the new Medicare program that begins next year.

“I’ve also heard, but I haven’t found anything to back this up, the discounts are bringing the prices pretty dang close to what you can probably pick drugs up in Canada for,” said McClimans.

More than 1,100 physicians belong to KCMS and KCOA. PLAN is a national nonprofit group of physician leaders focused on expanding health coverage to the underserved and is based in Asheville, N.C. PFI, of Mountain, Colo., is dedicated to reducing the costs of prescription drugs.

In addition to discounts on prescriptions, the card is good for reduced prices on health-care products like diabetes supplies and on some over-the-counter medications. For more information on participating pharmacies, go to www.physiciansrxcare.com or call (866) 652-4325.

“We’ve gotten the cards out to our board members and we’re starting to get them out to family practioners that are members and the internists that are members,” said McClimans. “So they’re just getting out right now.”     

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