Prescription Drug Program Aims To Cut New Yorkers' Medication Costs
A free program in New York is looking to help cut the costs of prescription drugs for residents. NY1's Cheryl Wills filed the following report.
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Whether you have medical insurance or not prescription drugs can take a big chunk out of your income.
Research shows medications account for about 10 percent of healthcare spending in the United States and out-of-pocket costs are significantly higher if you have a chronic disease like diabetes. Here in New York there is a free, statewide program that helps New Yorkers save up to half on their drugs, but not many people are taking advantage of it. It's called the New York Rx Card.
"Prescription medications are very expensive. Whether it’s a name brand or generic, the average cost of a prescription is $160. Some people don't have that money,” says New York Rx Card Program Director Francesco Ciccone.
Program officials say there is no catch and patients can use the card with their current insurance benefits. It won't lower your co-pay, but if your medication runs you a couple of hundred bucks, it can lower the price significantly.
Mary Thompson, a Lupus patient from Queens, says she was in tears when her doctors prescribed a drug that wasn't covered by her insurance.
"The generic brand was going to cost me between $1,400 and $1,500 and the brand name was gonna be $1,900," Thompson says.
When she presented the card the drugs cost Thompson a little over $100.
Program officials claim the New York Rx Card was used more than 25,000 times last month and New Yorkers have saved more than $15 million since the program started a year ago.
Most major pharmacies in New York participate in the program and it is funded by pharmaceutical companies and pharmacies. Patients' private information is not sold, captured or given to other companies.
To sign up call toll free 1-800-931-2297 or enroll online at www.newyorkrxcard.com.