Rx discounts available to county residents

Katrina Sargent

Katrina Sargent

$84,268 of spare change certainly is a lot, especially when it is all in the pockets of Brookings County residents. This money would have been spent on prescription drugs, but thanks to the Brookings County Prescription Discount Card, it went back to the residents.

The program was launched in Brookings County in January of 2005, and since November 2005, it has helped over 100 people a month.

The plan is not insurance; it is only a supplement to help with the cost of prescription drugs.

“Anyone who is a physical resident of Brookings County is eligible,” said Kristin Trana, assistant to the Human Resources Director. All anyone has to do is live in the county for any amount of time. This includes SDSU students and their families.

There are no forms to fill out or income qualifications, said Stephanie Vogel, Human Resources Director for the County of Brookings.

All that is needed is one of the cards, which can be picked up at any county office and have even been mailed to people, said Vogel.

This program gives people without prescription coverage the ability to receive the same discounts as those who have coverage, said Vogel.

The cards may be used at the pharmacies in Hy-Vee, Lewis Drug, Wal-Mart and the Student Health Pharmacy located in West Hall Room 214.

Melanie Lunn, the pharmacist at the student health pharmacy, said nobody has used one while she was working.

Even so, 120 people used the cards in December, and they had average savings of $9.19.

The card covers a variety of prescription medications, even some that are received through the mail. It can even save people money on some pet medications, said Vogel.

In some instances, the discount card covers certain medications not covered by insurance providers.

This program is made possible by CVS Caremark, an integrated pharmacy services provider and the National Association of Counties (NACo). Brookings County does not have to pay for anything besides their membership in NACo for the benefits of this card.

According to Vogel, membership in NACo costs $470 a year, and Brookings County was a member before the Prescription Discount card came out.

This is the first time the state of South Dakota has had all 66 of its counties involved in NACo. Vogel credits the Prescription Drug Card for the increased participation.

“It’s nice that the county can provide this,” said Ken Main, a pharmacist at Lewis Drug in Brookings. Main has been a Brookings pharmacist since 1973. “For individuals without any insurance, I’m happy to give this to them.”

The United States Census Bureau estimated the population in Brookings County to be 28,195. Out of these, only 9,616 took part in the program.

This program is possible because usually the group providing the prescription coverage or the pharmacy receive rebates from the drug manufacturers, said Vogel.

To participate in the program, the counties sign away their rebates, which go to CVS Caremark, and the pharmacy does not charge a dispensing fee.

For more information about this program or to find out where to get a Brookings County Prescription Discount Card, contact Stephanie Vogel at 605-696-8205 or [email protected].