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Drug discount cards yield $2.3M in savings

Program participation steady over first three years

— The third year’s total retail cost of prescriptions purchased remained relatively flat compared to the second year’s growth, with an increase of 5.37 percent. The total savings over retail costs for the third year were more than 40 percent, which totaled $1.27 million in actual costs.

Anywhere from 600 to 1,000 cards are used per month, according to McQueen. Also, he said the number of cards used is “pretty consistent” throughout the program. The discount card was distributed to all Schenectady County households in late February 2009.

“Everybody here has been pretty amazed and were pleasantly surprised that people are using it,” McQueen said. “Three years later it has been pretty significant for the residents.

County Legislator Brian Gordon, D-Niskayuna, said the program displays a significant need for county residents to relieve medical expenses.

“These numbers show that hardworking families need relief from the high cost of prescription drugs,” Gordon said in a prepared statement. “Whether it’s through the Schenectady County Prescription Drug Discount Card or the Schenectady Free Clinic, it is important that we continue to support our uninsured and underinsured families who struggle every day with their healthcare costs.”

The card provides a user with savings between 10 to 50 percent, depending on the medication and brand. The program provides the greatest benefit to residents lacking prescription drug insurance, county officials said, but all county residents are eligible for the program.

There are no income requirements, membership fees or enrollment forms to fill out to receive the card. Also, it can be used for discounts on medication for pets.

The county regularly receives calls from people familiar with the card and wanting one or needing a replacement card, according to McQueen.

Residents can receive a new discount card by contacting the County Legislature at 388-4280, or by visiting the county’s website at www.schenectadycounty.com to print out a card.

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