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Puerto Rico Excluded From Drug Discount Program

Together Rx sponsored by local major drug manufacturers


April 25, 2002
Copyright © 2002 CARIBBEAN BUSINESS. All Rights Reserved.

Seven major pharmaceutical companies–all with manufacturing operations in Puerto Rico–are sponsoring the Together Rx Card, a program that provides 20% to 40% discounts on medicines to Medicare beneficiaries in the U.S. mainland.

Still, at press time, Puerto Rico’s approximately 600,000 Medicare beneficiaries had not been included in the program, according to a company spokesperson.

Abbott Laboratories, AstraZeneca, Aventis Pharmaceuticals, Bristol-Myers Squibb, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, and Novartis sponsor Together Rx.

The seven companies offer savings on more than 150 prescription medicines. They include 26 drugs used to treat older peoples’ conditions, those making up most of Medicare’s beneficiaries and that include diabetes, hypertension, cancer, allergies, asthma, arthritis, and depression.

Pharmaceutical industry sources said that the program would be implemented in Puerto Rico soon, "even though not including it has been a very regrettable error." Edelman Public relations spokesperson Amy Bortz said, "Even though Puerto Rico is not currently covered in the program, this matter is being reviewed and discussed as we speak. Some amendments will be made."

In January, Pfizer Inc. introduced a similar program called Pfizer Share Card that covered U.S. Medicare beneficiaries. The program provides a $15 monthly flat fee discount on each Pfizer drug prescription, which could average up to 23% on prescriptions that retail for $65. At the time, the company estimated that up to seven million people could qualify for the program.

Together Rx estimates that it could provide eight to 11 million Medicare or patient assistance programs’ beneficiaries without public or private prescription drug coverage with major savings on their prescription medicines. While enrollment began on April 10, the program is expected to become effective in early June through pharmacies such as Walgreens and Wal-Mart.

This Caribbean Business article appears courtesy of Casiano Communications.
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