County may keep drug discount program

Snohomish County is considering keeping its discount prescription drug card program, which can bring about 20 percent in savings on medications.

In the past 11 months, more than 29,000 Snohomish County residents have used the card to save more than $950,000, county officials said.

“It’s made prescription drugs more available for people who don’t have good insurance and saved them money at the same time,” said County Councilman Dave Gossett, who led the county to join the program.

There are no age or income requirements to use the card, which is free and requires no paperwork.

The only requirement is that cardholders be Snohomish County residents.

The county joined the program on a trial basis in June 2005 with the company Caremark Rx and the National Association of Counties.

The County Council plans a public hearing at 10:30 a.m. June 21 at 3000 Rockefeller Ave. in Everett to discuss whether the program should be made permanent.

Snohomish County ranks high in the program, said Andrew Goldschmidt, program director with the National Association of Counties.

“It’s one of the largest in size and usage,” Goldschmidt said. “The people are appreciating the program. It is saving them money on prescription drugs they wouldn’t normally save.”

The card was meant as a safety net for those who otherwise would have no prescription discounts available to them.

It was seen as a way to help unemployed or low-wage workers who have no prescription benefits. The card also can be used for pet medications.

At the time, Snohomish County was one of 50 counties across the country to join the discount card program.

Now the program boasts 350 participating counties in at least 39 states, and 450 more considering joining, Goldschmidt said.

Nationally, 640,000 prescriptions have been filled using the discount card for a savings of $7.2 million, he said.

The card is available at local libraries, some senior centers and city halls.

Call ahead to make sure the Snohomish County discount prescription drug cards are in stock. Locations include the Alderwood mall help desk; Bartell Drug Stores; city halls in Bothell, Brier, Mill Creek and Mountlake Terrace; the Snohomish County Human Services Department; Puget Sound Labor; Everett and Sno-Isle libraries; the Snohomish Health District; and senior centers in Northshore, Mountlake Terrace and Edmonds.

Reporter Jeff Switzer: 425-339-3452 or jswitzer@heraldnet.com.

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