Friday, March 20, 2009

More cheap drugs

Together Rx AccessWith the economy such that many folks are skimping on needed medicines, drugmakers Pfizer Inc., feeling the pinch, want to encourage more people to buy their meds. No doubt they're also hoping to appear less rapacious while lawmakers consider means of cost-cutting in the ongoing debate on health-care reform.

So the drug company has announced an expansion of its Together Rx Access drug discount program for people with no prescription drug coverage. The discount cards offer 25- to 40-percent off on some 300 brand-name prescription drugs at a host of pharmacies.

Among the people needing to use them may be some of Pfizer's laid-off employees. The company cut thousands of jobs early this year, with some 20,000 more layoffs slated in the wake of its merger with Wyeth. Things are so tough that poor Jeffrey B. Kindler, Pfizer CEO, went without his accustomed $3 million bonus last year, and got only a paltry $122,500 raise, bringing his total compensation to just $6.3 million in 2008, according to SEC filings.

You can sign up for Together Rx online and print out a number you can use within an hour; a card will follow by mail. I haven't tried this one yet, so I can't tell you whether the discount is any better than the one from Caremark's RxSavings Plus, which doesn't have any income limits and doesn't ask for so much personal data.

In the Together program's expansion, Pfizer increased the income eligibility from, for example, $60,000 to $90,000 for a family of four. You don't have to provide any proof of income, and I'd guess the income guidelines now encompass most people who don't have prescription coverage, anyway. Since those who have coverage get negotiated discounts, this leads me to wonder, again, why not just reduce the price of the drugs to begin with and dispense with the rigmarole?

1 comment:

  1. I am a community pharmacist concerned with the high cost of prescription medications.
    I have developed a web site offering valuable information and resourse links offering free cost saving tips that I hope will offer assistance. The site is non profit and is cost free.


If you have trouble posting a comment, your browser privacy settings may be interfering. Change your settings to allow third-party cookies (session cookies will do) or add an exception for I apologize, but this is a Blogger issue over which I have no control.