Congress Considers Legislation to Streamline Rx Discount Cards...

Pharmacy Times, Volume 0, 0

Medicare patients seeking helpchoosing from among the dozens ofnew drug discount cards authorized bythe program are getting outdated prescriptionprice data and incorrectpharmacy access information from thegovernment's official Web site, SenKent Conrad (D, ND) told Congress.

Calling the implementation of thenew drug discount card program"unnecessarily confusing," Conradsaid that too many seniors "are findingit extremely difficult to figure outwhich card, if any, is right for them."At least part of the problem is thatMedicare patients are being overwhelmedby the number of choicesavailable, he said. "I like choice," Conradtold the Senate, "but when itcomes to 60,000 different drugs purchasedwith 73 discount cards at over50,000 pharmacies, the combinationsseem endless for a senior with severaldifferent prescriptions to be filled."

Conrad's bill would address thisproblem by requiring Medicare officialsto narrow the card choices availableto seniors to "the 3 best discountcards in each region."

Additionally, the legislation wouldprohibit card sponsors from cuttingback on the discounts that they promotedto seniors during the sign-upperiod, and it would require them tocontinue to offer coverage of a drug forthe duration of the program.