Available to anyone, no identification necessary
Stephanie Elfin says one customer saved $100. Another saved $50.
Elfin, a Gunnison City Market pharmacist, is talking about the new discount card called the "Colorado Drug Card," available to reduce the cost of prescription drugs.
The card, sponsored by the non-profit Kansas City-based Sertoma Foundation and distributed by a consortium of participating pharmacies, is absolutely free and available to anyone who asks for it.
"Anyone who is a Colorado resident can use it," she says.
Elfin says the savings depend on the drug purchased. "It doesn’t do extremely well on the brand-name drugs, but on the generics you get a pretty good discount," she says.
The discount cannot be used in conjunction with private insurance drug discounts or Medicare or Medicaid drug discounts, Elfin says. The program is designed to save customers money on drugs that insurance doesn’t cover.
Brian Oliver, executive vice president of United Networks of America, the firm hired by Sertoma to market the card, concurs with Elfin that the card can provide substantial savings on prescriptions.
"The average discount on brand-name drugs is 10 to 20 percent and up to 50 percent," he says. "The average discount on generic drugs is 35 to 40 percent and you can save up to 75 percent," he adds.
Oliver says the participating pharmacies benefit from increased traffic while sponsors, including the Sertoma Foundation and the Denver Chamber of Commerce, benefit by providing a needed service to Coloradoans.
"Sertoma’s goal is to provide reduced healthcare costs," says Oliver.
Oliver says no identification is necessary to get the discount card.
"It’s available to anyone who needs it," he stresses.
The Sertoma Foundation, formerly called the Co-Operative Club, was founded by three Kansas City doctors in 1912. It has grown over the past century into a worldwide civic organization that emphasizes freedom, youth causes and community needs.
A similar drug discount card is available to participating counties through the National Association of Counties (NACo), of which Gunnison County is a member. That card, administered through Caremark Rx, Inc., a pharmaceutical services company, offers similar benefits to drug purchasers as the Colorado Drug Card. As with the Colorado Drug Card, participating pharmacies gain the benefit of increased customer traffic.
Gunnison County has yet to participate, but Gunnison County commissioner Jim Starr says he is interested.
"It’s worth looking into," he says.
The Colorado Drug Card is available from the program’s preferred pharmacies (City Market and King Soopers) and can be used at thousands pharmacies throughout the state. The card can also be downloaded from www.coloradodrugcard.com.
Included on the website is a pharmacy locator and a medication pricing tool.