Drug discount cards yield $2.3M in savings

Program participation steady over first three years

— Three years after Schenectady County officials unveiled a prescription medication discount program, more than 9,500 claims were filed with an average savings of 41 percent off retail price.

County Legislature Chairwoman Judith Dagostino announced on Thursday, March 15, county residents have saved nearly $2.34 million since the Schenectady County Prescription Drug Discount Card began in March 2009. The program is in partnership with ProAct, Inc., which is a pharmacy benefit management company, and is provided at no cost to the county and residents.

“This program has been more successful than we could have imagined when we introduced the discount card to Schenectady County residents three years ago,” Dagostino said in a prepared statement. “Every little bit of savings has helped during these tight economic times and I look forward to the drug discount card continuing to bring savings to Schenectady County families.”

According to information provided by county officials, 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.

Joe McQueen, spokesman for the county, said knowing how many people utilize the program is difficult, because there is no personal information tied to each card. Also, one card was sent to every household so several people could be using one card, or individual cards for each person could have been attained. Each card is roughly seen as representing one household.

“The card can be used per household so we don’t know if it is a family of five or it is just a single person using it,” McQueen said. “The way it is set up is that every single resident of the county is in the same group, so that is why none of the cards are personalized.”

The second year of the program saw a 29.5 percent increase in total retail costs of prescriptions purchased, up from almost $1.44 million to over $2 million. The actual costs after savings for the first year was more than $897,000, or a savings around 38 percent. The second year had around 45 percent in savings over retail cost, totaling more than $1.13 million in actual costs.

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