News and Commentary

How Much Of a Discount Do Cards Offer?


Pharmaceutical and chain drug store industry insiders say that the Bush administration's push to provide prescription drugs to the low-income elderly lacks important ingredients: details and money. For instance, they point out that discount cards — a basic part of the plan — often don't work, because the discounts aren't enough to really make a difference.

"We are very much opposed to the discount card concept," Michael Polzin, a spokesman for Walgreens, told the Chicago Tribune. "If you can't afford a $100 prescription, chances are you can't afford it at $90."

Polzin's reaction may offer a clue as to why no member organizations have, so far, agreed to participate in a prescription discount card program sponsored by the National Association of Chain Drug Stores.

The NACDS announced in March that it is working on a card that would link discount plans offered by different drug makers. Under the plan, eligible Medicare beneficiaries would fill out one NACDS application and receive a single card to present to pharmacies.

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