Savings grow with Rx plan

Montgomery County government has saved more than a half-million dollars on prescription drugs since
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Montgomery County government has saved more than a half-million dollars on prescription drugs since it began offering pharmaceuticals through the CanaRx discount drug plan two years ago, officials said this week.

Current and retired employees of Montgomery County have been obtaining prescription medications by mail order from the company as part of an agreement with the county that started in June 2006.

Employees in the city of Amsterdam became involved as well in January 2007, county Personnel Officer Richard Baia said.

The medications, produced in Canada, New Zealand and Australia, among other places, come at a savings of between 35 percent and 40 percent from the prices charged by U.S. companies, Baia said.

For Montgomery County, which pays for the prescriptions, savings reached $593,667 by the end of March, Baia said.

“We’re going to save, right now between the city and county, we’ll be over $1 million at the end of the year,” Baia said.

Baia said savings by city employees reached $110,000 by the end of March.

County officials early last year started reaching out to retired employees to increase participation. At that time, officials said about 13 percent of eligible employees were involved.

Messages to employees and retirees were issued in paychecks and union officials planned to note the service’s availability in their newsletter.

Since then, participation has grown approximately 240 people, or 36 percent of the eligible retirees, employees and family members, Baia said.

There is a general goal to increase participation to about 50 percent of those eligible, Baia said, but it’s possible all of those eligible aren’t in need of prescription drugs.

“If you don’t take any drugs at all, there’s no reason [to participate],” Baia said.

The CanaRx service provides discounts on name brand pharmaceuticals, considered “maintenance drugs,” such as blood pressure medication.

Generic brand drugs, however, are not available through the voluntary mail order service, Baia said.

Information on the plan, which includes a list of more than 300 medications available, can be found on the Internet at http://www.canarx.com/MontgomeryMeds/.

Categories: Schenectady County

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