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State Now Accepting Applications for New York Prescription Saver Card
For IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
March 23, 2009
GOVERNOR PATERSON ANNOUNCES PROGRAM TO MAKE DRUGS MORE AFFORDABLE FOR LOWER-INCOME NEW YORKERS WITH FREE PRESCRIPTION DRUG CARD
State Now Accepting Applications for New York Prescription Saver Card
More Than 2,500 Pharmacies Statewide to Provide Discounts Beginning April 1
Governor David A. Paterson today announced the New York State Department of Health (DOH) is now accepting applications for the free New York Prescription Saver Card. The program will provide lower-income New Yorkers with savings that vary depending on the quantity, type and brand of the drug purchased. In general, New Yorkers can expect average savings of 30 to 40 percent off the price of generic, and at least 25 percent off the full retail price of brand name prescriptions. Discounts on nearly all prescription drugs will begin on April 1 at more than 2,500 participating pharmacies throughout the State. The New York Prescription Saver Card was enacted by Governor Paterson and the State Legislature as part of the 2008-2009 budget.
Beginning April 1, the State will offer lower-income New Yorkers aged 50 to 64, or those who have been determined disabled by the Social Security Administration, significant savings on prescription medications. More than 2,500 participating pharmacies across the State, including several major chains will accept the Prescription Saver Card. In addition, many drug manufacturers provide added discounts on their drugs. As more pharmaceutical manufacturers participate, prescription savings can continue to grow.
“It is important that during this economic crisis we find innovative and effective ways to provide for lower-income New Yorkers, and the New York Prescription Saver program is a great way for our State’s eligible residents to get real discounts at thousands of participating retail pharmacies across the State,” said Governor Paterson. “The New York Prescription Saver Card can help to not only ease the burden of costly prescriptions for lower-income New Yorkers, but can also ease the minds of those residents who worry about not being able to maintain their health and well-being. I would like to thank the State Legislature, and our participating pharmacies and manufacturers for supporting this program and for joining together to provide critical assistance during a difficult time for many New Yorkers.”
Estimated savings on common generic and brand names drugs include:
Metaformin (Treats Diabetes): 76 percent
Furosemide (Treats Hypertension): 43 percent
Actonel (Treats Osteoporosis): 40 percent
Lipitor (Treats cholesterol): 31 percent
Nexium (Treats heartburn): 19 percent
Plavix (Treats Stroke): 20 percent
To be eligible for the free New York Prescription Saver Card, you must be between the ages 50 to 64, or determined disabled by the Social Security Administration. Annual income must be at or below $35,000 for single persons and at or below $50,000 for married individuals. Those individuals who are enrolled in Medicaid or the State’s Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage (EPIC) program are not eligible for the Prescription Saver Card.
Senate Majority Leader Malcolm A. Smith said: “The ability to enjoy good health, especially for older adults, should not solely depend upon how deep your pockets are. The program we have started will offer significant cost savings on many prescriptions for those New Yorkers who may not qualify for senior benefits, but for whom the affordability of prescriptions means a healthy, active lifestyle.”
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said: “In this tough economy, low-income and disabled New Yorkers are often forced to make difficult decisions in order to obtain medications necessary to their health and well being. Today we encourage all eligible New Yorkers to apply for the Prescription Saver Card, which will help those on fixed incomes or without health benefits afford the medicines they need. During this economic recession we must keep in mind the challenges faced by the most vulnerable New Yorkers. We commend Governor Paterson including the Prescription Saver program in his Executive Budget proposal.”
Applications for the New York Prescription Saver card are being accepted online at http://nyprescriptionsaver.fhsc.com, or by phone on the toll free number 1-800-788-6917. TTY users may call 1-800-290-9138. Applications will be also be available at pharmacies and community organizations. Approved participants will receive their card in the mail usually within two weeks of filing their application.
A listing of the discounted drug prices, participating manufacturers and pharmacies, and a pharmacy locator can be found at the Prescription Saver Web site at http://nyprescriptionsaver.fhsc.com.
Additional quotes provided in support of the New York Prescription Saver Card.
Senator Tom Duane, Chair of the Senate Health Committee, said: “The Prescription Saver Card is an important next step in New York’s efforts to help people get the health care they need. The Prescription Saver Card makes drugs more affordable for many New Yorkers. Until this country can guarantee health care for all, New York State will continue to enact programs like the Prescription Saver Card, to make health care more accessible for all New Yorkers.”
Senator David J. Valesky, Vice President Pro Tempore of the Senate, said: “The rising cost of prescription medication is an undue burden on our senior citizens, many of whom live on fixed or low incomes. New York Prescription $aver Card program will provide an additional avenue to reduce out-of-pocket prescription costs, and help to ensure those who need medication can afford it.”
Assemblymember Richard N. Gottfriend said: “Last year, Governor Paterson and the Assembly fought to make the prescription saver card available to all low and moderate income New Yorkers who don’t have drug coverage. But the Republicans who controlled the Senate would only agree to a much more limited plan. It’s a good start, but this year we should expand it. The taxpayers don’t fund this program. The discounts come from the state using its bargaining power to get hefty discounts from drug companies, just as Medicaid does.”
DOH Commissioner Richard F. Daines, M.D. said: “New York will soon be healthier, because eligible residents can get the medications they need at reduced prices. The New York Prescription Saver Card will not only help New Yorkers save on prescription drugs but it will ensure that they can purchase insulin, insulin syringes and needles at a discount as well.”
New York State Office for the Aging Director Michael Burgess said: “Health Insurance Information, Counseling and Assistance Program staff in every county aging office in the State face New Yorkers in distress, without insurance coverage and below the age eligibility for our drug security programs. Until now, they have had no ability to assist people without health insurance or who are underinsured and do not have a prescription drug benefit. Especially during these tough economic times, when more New Yorkers have lost their jobs or have lost their investments that previously afforded early retirement, it is critically important to help where and when we can. As Co-Chair of the State’s EPIC panel I am delighted to help launch this project.”
AARP New York State Director Lois Aronstein said: “The New York Prescription Saver card will help make prescription drugs more affordable for thousands of New Yorkers age 50-64. It is a fundamental mission of AARP to ensure prescription drug affordability for all. On behalf of AARP and our thousands of members who advocated for this drug discount card, we thank Governor Paterson for making a significant step toward providing all New Yorkers with access to affordable prescription drugs.”
Cohoes Mayor John T. McDonald, III, who is also an independent pharmacy owner, said: “The New York Prescription Saver Program provides a no cost program to those that need assistance the most, and in today’s times, that need is even greater. As an independent pharmacy owner, I have often seen patients struggle with the high cost of medications. This program supersedes other pre-existing programs as pharmacies and pharmaceutical manufacturers have joined forces with the State to provide greater discounts. At the same time the savings derived from the program allows pharmacists to focus on what we care most about – our patients and healthy outcomes. I applaud Governor Paterson and the Legislature in this effort.”