...But Study Finds Cards Offer Solid Savings with Generics

Ken Rankin
Published Online: Sunday, August 1, 2004

Although the new Medicare Rx drug discount card program continues to come under criticism, administration officials have produced fresh evidence that the cards may provide significant savings for some seniors.

A new study by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has found that Medicare beneficiaries using the discount drug card can save between 46% and 92% on many commonly used prescription brand drugs through the use of generic drugs. According to CMS officials, the savings result from the personalized information that the program provides to beneficiaries about the availability of less expensive generics, as well as from substantial new price discounts on generic drugs made possible by the new Medicare cards.

"We are taking important steps toward our goal of prescription drug affordability by providing personalized assistance to help seniors find out when generic drugs [are available], and this study shows that buying generic drugs through Medicare-approved drug discount cards can save a significant amount of money," said CMS Administrator Mark B. McClellan, MD, PhD.

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