Commission votes for new drug card

Published 10:59 pm Monday, March 12, 2012

Residents of Pike County will soon be able to sign up for a new prescription drug card that will allow them to pay the same price as insurance companies for medicine.

Ron Howard with Coast to Coast, the prescription drug card program, addressed the Pike County Commission on Monday night.

Howard explained that the card was more beneficial than the current program available to county residents because it aids both people without insurance, or with insurance who might need an excluded or non-preferred drug.

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Howard said the program is free to the county, free to residents and will actually generate revenue for the county.

For every prescription drug card issued in Pike County, the county will receive $1 up until cards have been distributed to one percent of the population. Then, the county will make $1.25 for each card distributed.

The program is used in large cities such as Dallas, Houston, New York and Phoenix, already, and many counties in Alabama have signed up.

Mobile County pharmacies reported 3,500 prescriptions filled using the card in 2011 and residents saved about $2 million because of the program. In return for contracting with Coast to Coast, the county received $30,000 in 2011.

Jefferson, Montgomery, Baldwin and Marshall counties are just some of the other locations in Alabama that are also participating.

For an example of how much a consumer can save, Howard used a Marshall County example. He said a drugstore was able to lower the retail cost of $185 for medicine to $35 for an uninsured resident of the county, giving the consumer the discounted wholesale price of the drug.

The commission voted unanimously to contract with Coast to Coast. After that happens, Coast to Coast will begin notifying residents about how to sign up for the program.

Also at the meeting, the commission:

•Approved beginning a new scrap tire project with the Alabama Department of Environmental Management.

•Gave preliminary approval, pending funding of a 20 percent match, to apply for an Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement grant that would fund repairing several county roads.

•Agreed to participate in the 2012 Sales Tax Holiday on Aug. 3-5, 2012.

•Agreed to allow for the research and selection of a loan to fund a bridge project that will be reimbursed by FEMA and the Alabama EMA.