National Association of Chain Drug Stores To Help Drug Companies Market Discount Rx Card for Seniors
The National Association of Chain Drug Stores yesterday said it will help seven pharmaceutical companies market a discount prescription drug card for seniors that was established earlier this year, the Wall Street Journal reports. The announcement came one day after the Senate, for the fourth time in two weeks, defeated a proposal to add a prescription drug benefit to Medicare. Under the pharmaceutical company program, called Together Rx, Medicare beneficiaries who lack drug coverage and have annual incomes up to $28,000 for an individual and $38,000 for a couple receive 20% to 40% discounts on their prescription drug purchases. The plan was created in April by Abbott Laboratories, AstraZeneca PLC, Aventis Pharmaceuticals Inc., Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson and Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp. and has already enrolled 120,000 seniors. NACDS said that this fall it will begin an advertising campaign for the plan in six cities. In addition, the association said that it plans to encourage other drug makers, including Pfizer Inc. and Eli Lilly & Co., to participate in Together Rx. Both Pfizer and Eli Lilly offer their own prescription discount cards. Through the partnership, NACDS and the coalition of drug makers hope to provide an incentive for Congress to pass Medicare prescription drug benefit legislation, the Journal reports (Zimmerman, Wall Street Journal, 8/2). In June, the House passed a $350 billion Medicare reform measure that includes a prescription drug benefit (California Healthline, 6/28). However, the Senate has been unable to reach a compromise on the issue (California Healthline, 8/1).