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United Way and ProAct bring prescription-drug discount cards to area

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Another prescription-drug discount card has made its debut in St. Lawrence County and will be distributed in Lewis and Jefferson Counties as well.

United Way of Northern New York teamed up with ProAct Inc., a division of Kinney Drugs, to create and distribute the United Way Prescription Discount Card, designed for people who are either uninsured or underinsured.

The cards can be used at most pharmacies including Kinney Drugs stores and approximately 60,000 chains nationwide, according to David B. Warner, president of ProAct.

“There are other companies that do this, but Kinney being a north country company, we wanted to partner with them,” United Way CEO Robert D. Gorman said during a news conference Wednesday. “We don’t want somebody who’s got an expensive prescription to fill to not go get the medicine because they don’t have money. This gives them at least an option to go into a pharmacy and get a much reduced price for that drug.”

The discount percentages will vary depending on the prescription but, according to Mr. Warner, people can get 10 percent to 70 percent off their prescriptions. He said that on average people would save about 53 percent.

The discount percentages will mirror those of ProAct’s other prescription-drug discount card started in 2005 in St. Lawrence County.

According to Mr. Warner, the two discount cards are very similar. Without any qualifications, they’re available to anyone who needs one regardless of age, income or demographic.

The difference between the cards is that the new one is being distributed directly to 40 nonprofit organizations throughout the three counties.

“The target audience is already at the nonprofit agencies,” Mr. Gorman said. “We are dependent on our nonprofit partners who are all over the north country, in the trenches meeting people whose needs have either been increased or changed, and this gives them one more opportunity to help people who are in a crisis right now.”

ProAct’s St. Lawrence County discount card was available to people through government offices.

“A lot of the people we see may not ever step foot into the county offices, so it’s just another avenue to give this discount to them,” said Shari L. Fawcett, a representative of St. Lawrence Valley Renewal House, Canton. “If it’s whether to eat, feed their kids, warm their homes, they’re going to put off paying for their own prescription, and this is another way that maybe doesn’t have to happen.”

Mr. Warner said that although the discount card can’t be used in conjunction with insurance coverage, every generic and brand name drug is covered by the card at some level of discount.

According to Mr. Warner, funding for the card will come directly from the participating pharmacies that are offering the discount in an effort to bring more customers to their stores.

“We’re not tracking or gathering any of the patient information, but we do capture all the prescription and pharmacy information so we can understand how much it’s being used, how much the saving was, what pharmacies the card is being used in and how much utilization we’re getting out of the United Way card,” Mr. Warner said.

“We’re making a real effort to get this card into more hands at a time of upheaval with health care in America,” Mr. Gorman said.

“Federal and state money’s drying up, county government can’t come in and help, and there’s never been a more important and significant time for United Way than today,” he added.

TO GET THE CARD
The United Way Prescription Discount Card is available at various nonprofit agencies in the north country, including:
• The St. Lawrence County Community Development Program, 1 Commerce Lane, Canton.
• Catholic Charities, 716 Caroline St., Ogdensburg.
• St. Lawrence Valley Renewal House, 3 Chapel St., Canton.
• Salvation Army locations in St. Lawrence, Jefferson and Lewis counties.
The card can also be printed from the ProAct Inc. website: http://proactrxsavings.com.
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