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County residents could save money on prescriptions under new program

The new prescription drug card is hitting close to home for Schenectady County Legislator Karen Johnson, D-Schenectady.

"Not everyone is on a lot of medications, but I happen to be, so I've had direct experience with this," said Johnson. "I just had to pay it. We haven't field-tested this, but the theory is that a person who has no insurance can go into a pharmacist, tell them exactly what drugs they're taking, and the pharmacist will tell them the discount they're going to receive."

However, the program helps more than the people who are on Medicaid.

"Many companies, especially smaller companies, have been reducing their insurance coverage, which might mean there are people who have health insurance but don't have pharmacy coverage," said Johnson.

"We know there are a lot of people who don't have coverage at all or they may not be working full-time," said Johnson.

She said that the expectation in Schenectady County, "where we have a high proportion of elderly and a pretty high proportion of low-income people and there are a lot of people who are just in a squeeze," is that this card might be of help to them.

Currently there are 13 counties in New York participating in this specific program with ProAct. The nearest county to Schenectady that participates is Fulton County.

"Basically the ProAct company is a drug benefits company," said McQueen.

"They're looking to increase volume. The more that their people under them buy from pharmaceutical companies, they get better prices for volume. The CVS's the Rite Aid's, the Hannaford's, the Price Chopper's " it's driving traffic into the stores," said McQueen of the drug discount card.

He said that it's not as much about making money on the drugs but about getting traffic into the stores.

Johnson wants residents to take advantage of the program.

"I think this is potentially a great service to our constituents, and I just hope that they'll take advantage of it because there are many things in our lives that we can take advantage of, and we either don't know about it or don't do it," said Johnson.

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