Los Angeles Times Examines Support, Opposition to Pharmaceutical Companies’ Discount Rx Card Plan
The Los Angeles Times yesterday detailed support for and opposition to discount cards offered by drug companies. Available discount cards include the Together Rx card, which was created by seven pharmaceutical companies for Medicare beneficiaries who lack drug coverage and offers discounts of 20% to 40% on more than 150 drugs. GlaxoSmithKline's Orange Card offers average savings of 30% on seniors' drug costs. GlaxoSmithKline also is participating in the Together Rx discount card plan. Further, the Pfizer for Living Share Card offers low-income individuals a 30-day supply of its drugs for a $15 fee. About 80,000 individuals have enrolled in Pfizer's program. Critics of the discount cards say that not all seniors will benefit from them, adding that the cards are a marketing ploy. In some cases, discounts available through company cards are not as great as the savings seniors can obtain through pharmacies because some cards have monthly fees and do not cover all the drugs a patient may need. Further, critics say that using generic medications would give seniors more affordable prices than discount cards would. Amanda McCloskey, director of health policy for Families USA, said, "There is a case to be made that this is more of a public relations issue than getting folks the drugs they need." But until Congress approves a Medicare drug benefit, supporters of the cards say they are a "limited, interim measure" that can provide low-income seniors some savings (White, Los Angeles Times, 5/12).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.