Medicare Officials Report Big Savings from Rx Discount Cards

Pharmacy Times, Volume 0, 0

Seniors who sign up for one of the new Medicare drug discount cards cancount on cutting their prescription drug costs by an average of several hundreddollars a year, according to a new analysis released by the Centers forMedicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

Government researchers comparison-shopped medication discountsoffered by the dozens of Rx cards available under the new program. Theyconcluded that, on average, seniors using these cards would save at least10% to 17% on prescriptions filled with brand name drugs. Savings ongeneric prescriptions would be even larger—30% to 60%, on average, thegovernment researchers said.

In addition, the analysis found that patients who use their Medicare-approveddiscount card to order prescriptions by mail will save an averageof 10% to 13%, compared with Internet pharmacy prices. Although sponsorsof the discount cards are authorized to charge Medicare patients anannual enrollment fee of up to $30, CMS officials said that most seniorswill save more than that amount in 1 month by using the card.

"Medicare beneficiaries are above average when it comes to their drugneeds, but from now on, they can be below average when it comes to thedrug prices they have to pay," said CMS Administrator Mark McClellan.