PHARMACY

CVS Caremark: NACo Rx discount card has saved Americans more than $500M

BY Antoinette Alexander

WASHINGTON and WOONSOCKET, R.I. — Residents in counties across the country that participate in the National Association of Counties’ Prescription Discount Card Program have saved more than $500 million on their prescription medications since the launch of the program in 2004, according to data released by NACo and CVS Caremark.

The NACo Prescription Drug Discount Card Program was created in late 2004 as a 17-county pilot program in partnership with CVS Caremark to provide a valuable membership benefit to counties. The NACo board made the program available to members nationwide in May 2005.

Today, more than 1,400 counties across the United States participate in the program. The average savings per transaction is approximately 24% and those savings can add up over time for many American families.

"This program puts cash back into consumers’ pockets thanks to their county government and the National Association of Counties," stated NACo president Chris Rodgers, commissioner for Douglas County, Neb. "Saving American consumers more than $500 million on their prescription costs is an enormous milestone for our program, and NACo is extremely proud of this result."

"At CVS Caremark, we recognize that medication adherence can positively affect an individual’s overall health, while also helping to reduce overall healthcare costs," added Jon Roberts, president of the PBM business of CVS Caremark. "The NACo Prescription Discount Card Program helps reduce the cost of medications — one of the most frequently cited barriers to taking medications as prescribed — and is one example of the many programs we administer to help support medication adherence and help people on their path to better health."

The savings as a result of the program are significant in many of the participating counties. For example, $24.3 million saved in Montgomery County, Md.; $15.9 million saved in Indianapolis/Marion County, Ind.; $10 million saved in Snohomish County, Wash.; $7.2 million saved in Wake County, N.C.; $6.5 million saved in Maricopa County, Ariz.; $6.2 million saved in Palm Beach County, Fla.; $2.8 million saved in Fulton County, Ga.; and $1.9 million in Cook County, Ill.

Rural counties with populations under 50,000 are also experiencing savings: $546,000 saved in Culpeper County, Va.; $341,000 saved in Buffalo County, Neb.; $184,000 saved in Baxter County, Ark.; $179,000 saved in Brookings County, S.D.; and $119,000 saved in Humboldt County, Iowa. Savings are not exclusive to the continental 48 states: More than $609,000 has been saved in Kenai Peninsula Borough, Alaska, while residents in Honolulu City/County, Hawaii, have saved more than $3.6 million.

The discount card has many benefits: It is easy to get, there are no forms to fill out and it is available at no cost to the consumer. The card can be used by people who do not have insurance or by those who have certain prescriptions that are not covered by their insurance.

The card may be used by any resident of a participating county, regardless of age, income or existing health conditions. Everyone is eligible and one card can be used by the entire family. All commonly prescribed prescription medications, including many pet medications, are eligible for a discount.

The card is accepted within a national network of 65,000 pharmacies, including all the major chains, such as Wal-Mart, CVS/pharmacy, Walgreens, Giant, Safeway and Rite Aid. Participating pharmacies also include the majority of community-based, independent pharmacies.

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FTC clears Valeant-Medicis deal

BY Alaric DeArment

MONTREAL — The Federal Trade Commission has approved a deal by Valeant Pharmaceuticals International to buy a Scottsdale, Ariz.-based drug maker.

Valeant said the FRC had finished reviewing its planned acquisition of Medicis Pharmaceutical and allowed the waiting period required under merger and acquisition laws to terminate early.

Valeant said the deal is still subject to conditions like the approval of Medicis’ stockholders, who will have a special meeting on Dec. 7. Medicis makes drugs for asthma, fungal infections and skin conditions like acne and eczema.


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Walgreens, Take Care Clinic to offer free diabetes screenings through November

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens and Take Care Clinics on Friday announced the offer of free health testing for hemoglobin A1C and blood glucose at more than 3,000 U.S. locations through the end of November as part of American Diabetes Month and the Walgreens Way to Well Commitment. 

“Our pharmacists and Take Care Clinic nurse practitioners and physicians assistants are trusted clinicians that can help those living with diabetes understand and manage their condition,” stated Kermit Crawford, Walgreens president of pharmacy, health and wellness. “Diabetes is a serious health issue facing a growing number of Americans. Through preventive health and wellness services, education and support, we can help patients make healthy and informed decisions.”

In the last year, Walgreens pharmacists and Take Care Clinic nurse practitioners and physician assistants have administered more than 600,000 health tests for A1C, blood glucose, blood pressure, cholesterol and body composition. 

Free A1C testing — sponsored in part by Bayer Healthcare, Diabetes Care and Novo Nordisk — is available with a coupon at select Walgreens and Take Care Clinic locations in 40 states and Washington, D.C. A coupon for the $35 test can be found in the current Walgreens weekly ad and is good through the end of the month. 

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