Monday, March 2, 2009

Cheap drugs

Prescription discount cardsWell, not cheap, but a little cheaper.

If you don't have health insurance or your coverage doesn't include prescriptions, you can pay a whopping amount for medicines. (One of the few good things Illinois' latest crooked governor tried to do for this state was to address health care, including the cost of drugs. He made a mess of it, but at least he tried to do something.)

Cook County offers residents a free prescription discount card from Caremark that lets users save an average of 20 percent off pharmacies' regular price. How to get one? The county's Web site directs:
  • Click to go to the Caremark-NACo Website for more information visit your Cook County Board Commissioner's district office or at the lobby information desk at the Cook County Building, 118 N. Clark Street.
  • Call toll free 1-877-321-2652.
No list of offices is supplied. I clicked the Caremark link. That got me to a page that tells you to click for a list of participating counties. That link goes to a .pdf. Scroll down to Cook County, Illinois, and what do you get? A link back to the Cook County web site.

So I called the number. And the receptionist said that to get a card, I needed to go in person to a Cook County Board Commissioner's district office. Did she have a list? No. With some searching, I did find this list of commissioners with links to their district offices. But you don't have to go there.

Probing a little further, I discovered that you can get exactly the same discounts with Caremark's free RxSavingPlus card. It won't have the Cook County seal on it (which you may think of as a drawback or an added benefit), but you can sign up for the card online and print it out at home.

Walgreens, CVS, Osco, Dominick's, Target and a number of other stores participate in this discount program, which is open to everyone. I can vouch that the card works at Walgreens.

Yet I can't help wondering — if all these pharmacies are willing to give anybody 20-percent off just for printing out one of these cards, doesn't that mean regular price is at least 20 percent too high?

1 comment:

  1. To get a free prescription discount card with access to prices at pharmacies in your neighborhood, go to:


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