Get Drugs Cheap!

September 18th, 2013

A prescription discount card that could save you an average of 45 percent on many medications and cover your eyes, ears, and even your pooch?

At no cost to any resident of our fair burg? You can use it instead of your regular insurance drug card if it gives you a better deal? And you can use it not only in town but also across the state and the country?

Too good to be true?

Nope. It’s legit, and you’ll be receiving it in the mail in two weeks.

The city has joined others across the state in introducing this new prescription discount card, hoping in particular to help the non-insured and the underinsured, including immigrants.

Mayor John DeStefano as he rolled out the new card initiative in front of Kawa Chan’s East Rock Pharmacy on Orange Street at a press conference Tuesday afternoon.

The Connecticut Council of Municipalities (CCM) teamed up with a company called ProAct, Inc to create the card. The savings come because ProAct has a bulk purchasing deal with pharmacies and pharmaceutical companies. Since the ProAct discount means more people get their prescriptions filled, the stores and drug companies benefit by an increase in business, with no added cost to municipalities, explained CCM CEO Jim Finley.

Chan’s is one of 24 pharmacies currently participating in New Haven. That number is growing, according to Finley.

“Basically bulk purchases are working for our benefit,” DeStefano said.

The cards will be mailed to every resident in town, regardless of citizenship or immigration status, the mayor said. The card’s discounts are available to other species as well: pet owners can use the cards to get cheaper drugs for their ailing dogs and cats.

“This promotes the health of city residents, so we avoid urgent care [for many of the uninsured] whose costs are passed on to taxpayers,” the mayor added.

Finley (pictured with the mayor) said New Haven is the largest city to join thus far. He said he expects all municipalities to sign on to the program, which has been percolating for a year in the Nutmeg State but has been operational in other states for several years.

You receive your card—or go online and print your own—and then go in to fill a prescription and maybe get some hearing and eye care covered.

You present your New Haven Prescription Discount Card to a pharmacist like Chan’s. If you have another prescription card, you can ask him to run the transaction with both, to see on which card you get the better deal.

If you’re one of the 360,000 people in Connecticut (10 percent of the population) with no insurance, you now have a drug discount card to use.

The program is in essence paid for by the pharmaceutical companies who will sell more prescriptions if they see more customers, said Finley. “The beauty of the program is there’s no paperwork and no cost to municipalities.”

“We see it as big,” predicted Chan.

If you absolutely can’t wait, you can print out your new discount card online by going to ProAct’s site here.

For a list of the 646 pharmacies statewide, including New Haven’s Walgreens, Rite Aids and Visels, as well as the 63,000 nationwide where you can get your drugs while traveling, click here.

City health chief Mario Garcia, who was on hand for the event Tueday. He praised the prescription discount card initiative. “This program will help those uninsured,” and those who remain uninsured in town after the roll-out of the state’s official health exchange under the Affordable Care Act, he said.

The official exchange, AccessCt., is open for business as of Oct.1.

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Anyone regardless of age or income can participate. No eligibility requirements.

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