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City's due diligence challenged promoting discount prescription card program

Uninsured should shop around for best drug prices

By Jim Fair, Editor
Published on Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Don Wall told City Council Tuesday night he took exception to the city promoting a Prescription Discount Card to Greer residents suggesting it was the best financial alternative.

Wall, former Greer Mayor and owner of three independent pharmacies, including Professional Pharmacy in Greer, took the city to task for not doing its due diligence exploring pricing of drugs within the community and sharing that with the residents.

“All my pharmacies refuse to accept the drug discount card,” Wall told Council. “Consumers consider pharmacists the most trusted in business but I’m ashamed of programs like this.”

Wall came armed with a pricing scorecard showing the cost of two specific drugs, Singular 10 mg and Lipitor 20 mg, both with a 30 count – the same two drugs the administrator’s staff presented to council on Nov. 27.

 

Singular 10 mg
30 count

 

Lipitor 20 mg 30 count

 

 

Brand

Generic

Brand

Generic

Discount card

$175.88

$134.41

$188.14

$66.37

Professional Pharmacy

$177.24

$22.50

$181.87

$19.99

June Lennon also identified Professional Pharmacy as a cost-effective way to purchase drugs when insurance was unavailable.  She was prescribed medicine that in 2009 cost $2,000 for brand and $855 for the generic. “I called Professional Pharmacy and the generic was $35,” she said.

City Administrator Ed Driggers introduced the prescription card program, in partnership with the National League of Cities, and his staff made the presentation allowing four chain pharmacies were called only hours before city council’s last meeting. Based on that presentation council embraced the progam.

The city’s presentation said uninsured Greer residents could realize a savings averaging 23 percent off the regular price of drugs – brand or generic – by using the free prescription discount card. CVS Caremark is the administrator of the program. The cards went into effect Dec. 1.

Residents and their family members qualify only if they are uninsured and don’t receive benefits from Medicaid, Medicare or any other government program. There are no restrictions or limits on how many times the card can be used.

Wayne Griffin (District 2) apologized to Council saying he felt bad favoring the prescription discount card that led to the city promoting it. “I thought it was a good idea because it was like having another tool in the tool box. If it’s cheaper at an independent pharmacy then that’s another tool,” Griffin said.

Councilman Lee Dumas (District 4), a pharmaceutical salesman, said residents and consumers should routinely “shop around for the best prices.”

The city is offering the prescription discount cards at City Hall during regular office hours.

 Professional Pharmacy is located at 408 Memorial Drive. Call 877-4281.

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