New Prescription Drug Discount Program Unveiled in Essex County

County and state officials unveil new discount cards at the Richard Codey Arena at South Mountain Reservation on Thursday.


A new prescription drug program in Essex County is expected to help residents save money on brand name and generic drugs. 

The free program open to all residents regardless of age or employment is estimated to save participants 10 to 20 percent on brand name drugs, and 20 to 70 percent on generic drugs, according to the county. Residents only have to show the discount card at their pharmacy when filling a prescription. 

“You will agree that ... this is definitely needed in today’s world and in our society,” said Freeholder President Blonnie Watson on Thursday. “And what is the most expensive things in market today? Going to the drug story or ... pharmacy ....” 

County and state officials -- including Essex County Freeholders and Speaker of the New Jersey General Assembly Sheila Oliver (D-East Orange) -- unveiled the new program on Thursday at the Richard Codey Arena at South Mountain Reservation. The county is pairing with ProAct Inc., subsidiary of the healthcare company Kinney Drugs headquartered in New York, who will administer the program. 

While there are similar discount prescription drug programs in New York, this is the first of its kind in New Jersey.  

ProAct program manager Erison Rodriguez said the program will ultimately be funded by pharmacies. 

“They [the pharmacies] do so willingly to give back to the communities in which they serve,” said Rodriguez. 

The cards are active and currently being mailed to residents. Rodriguez said the primary focus of the discount cards are for those without health insurance. However, those who have health insurance can take advantage of the discounts, too. The discount cards can be used when a prescription drug is not covered by a health insurance provider. 

There are no enrollment forms, membership fees or requirements to participate. The cards are anonymous and a single card can be used for an entire family. If a card is lost, a new one can be printed from the county’s website

The discount cards can be used at familiar pharmacies such as CVS Pharmacy, Walgreens and Walmart. Rodriguez also added that there are no pharmacies in Essex County who will not honor the discount cards.

The discounts cards can even be used at pharmacies outside of the county and state -- more than 55,000 nationwide. 

“This program comes at a good time,” said Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo. “ ... The economy is what it is right now and we have a lot of people out of work here in Essex County, and we need programs like this to be able to assist our residents.

“And when it comes to health, there is nothing more important as far a prescription.” 

SMFlatow August 31, 2012 at 10:23 AM
Milton Friedman said there is no such thing as a free lunch. The above press release doesn't say much and neither does the plan website. So, what's the catch?
Alan Sanders August 31, 2012 at 05:15 PM
I share your skepticism and the only explanation I can give is that projected volume is large and is used to justify discounts. Time will tell!
Adam Kraemer August 31, 2012 at 09:22 PM
The state and the federal government are in the drug business with aid to poor people and the elderly. Do we need the county to be in the drug business also? I need to see the details but this appears to beyond the scope and purpose of county government.
Lily Waterhouse November 20, 2012 at 08:34 PM
Is there a place to compare drug prices with what I pay now using RxDrugCard.com?


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