Discount drug savings reach $3.5M

October 12th, 2013

ALBANY COUNTY — Hundreds of county residents have paid less for prescription medication by simply presenting a card over the past few years. They’ve racked up $3.5 million in savings.

The Albany County Legislature joined the ProAct administered discount prescription drug program in February of 2010. The program provides savings for uninsured or underinsured residents at most pharmacies. Program participants have collectively saved more than $3.5 million, with more than 93,000 prescriptions filled at local pharmacies. County officials said program participants on average saved 45 percent on each medication.

Legislature Majority Leader Frank Commisso applauded the program as a “great success” and “major benefit.” Commisso said the county would continue seeking partnerships to benefit residents.

Albany County Executive Dan McCoy said prescription medication could be “quite expensive,” so helping ease the financial stress on residents is important.

“At a time when the cost of prescriptions has increased significantly,” McCoy said, “I am pleased the county has found a way for people to purchase the medication they need at an affordable price.”

There are 50 counties statewide participating in the ProAct program, which was offered to municipalities and residents for free. Every county resident is eligible to use the program and there are no enrollment forms. A family can also use one card.

“Residents who are uninsured or underinsured are forced to pay the full cash price for their prescription medications, which can be extremely costly,” Albany County Legislature Chairman Shawn Morse said in a statement. “These are the residents we are targeting with the discount card. We want to provide them with an opportunity to purchase their necessary medications at an affordable price.”

Several county offices provide the discount cards to residents, such as the Department of Social Services, Health Department and County Clerk’s Office. Residents can also receive a new discount card if their original is lost. Local pharmacies have also been supplied with discount cards to offer residents.

Free discount cards can also be printed out by visiting, where there is also a listing of participating pharmacies and medication costs.

The New York State Association of Counties partnered with ProAct to develop the program and offer it statewide, which last year exceeded $110 million in savings, with more than 3.3 million prescriptions filled, according to NYSAC.

“This program provides an effective way for counties to provide immediate and sizeable financial relief for their residents at the pharmacy counter,” ProAct President Dave Warner said in a statement. “For many New Yorkers, it can mean the difference in being able to afford their medications or not.”

ProAct claims the program saves an average of $33 on each prescription, with cumulative savings exceeding 50 percent off prescriptions. County officials said the program typically provides 10 to 20 percent off name brand medications and from 20 to 70 percent off generic medications.

Last year, Albany County started a dental card savings program, which provides up to 40 percent savings on routine dental procedures for residents without dental insurance.

Schenectady County realized similar savings three years after implementing the drug discount program in March 2009. The county’s savings totaled around $2.34 million after more than 9,500 claims were filled.

Schenectady County officials had said the retail cost of prescription medication purchased through the program over three years totaled almost $5.64 million, with the actual cost after savings totaling nearly $3.3 million, or 41 percent less.

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