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Oregonians for Health Security's weekly newsletter

The Weekly Monitor, health care happenings for the week of August 9, 2004.
Profile of Congressional Report on Medicare Drug Discount Cards
"These drug discount cards were supposed to be one of the better parts of the flawed Medicare prescription drug plan. Now we're finding that the cards, once seniors work through the confusion, provide little savings or benefit. prices on behalf of Medicare beneficiaries. "-Representative Peter Defazio
U.S. Representative Peter DeFazio released a congressional report which analyzed the 32 Medicare-approved prescription drug cards available to seniors in Oregon's 4th Congressional District. The report found that the drug cards are failing to provide significant discounts for seniors.
The report, prepared by the Minority Staff of the House Committee on Government Reform, analyzed the top 10 drugs used by seniors and compared the average prices available through the drug discount cards to the drug prices available through reimportation from Canada, the Veterans Administration and retail outlets. The report finds that with the exception of some low-income seniors, who receive a $600 subsidy to help pay for drugs when they sign up for the cards, most seniors will see few, if any, benefits. Drugs purchased with Medicare discount cards are significantly more expensive than the same drugs in Canada or those whose prices are negotiated by the federal government for the VA. It also found that the discount drug cards were comparable to other prices currently available through retail outlets, like Drugstore.com.
Consider a 30-day supply of Celebrex: the report found that with a drug discount card available in the 4th congressional district a senior would pay between $77.94-$81.38; she would pay $76.99 at Drugstore.com; $62.60 under the VA; and only $38.69 by reimporting the prescription from Canada. The drug card with the highest reported prices in the 4th CD was the Pharmacy Smart Card and the card with the lowest reported prices was the Walgreens Health Initiatives card, yet the savings under these cards are comparable to discount retail outlets. Discount drug cards can cost seniors up to $30 per year and are not accepted at all pharmacies.

Weekly Dose
Who do Americans believe is the biggest winner in the Medicare
prescription law?

44% say pharmaceutical companies

29% say insurance companies

13% say seniors

11% say health care providers and hospitals

Andres McKenna Research, January 2004

Canadian RxExpress to Roll Through Portland
The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights has chartered a train from San Diego to Vancouver, BC to purchase low-cost Canadian drugs. They will make stops in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento, Portland, and Seattle to pick up advocates/consumers and hold a press conference.
The RxExpress wants 2 to 3 consumers from Oregon who would like to meet up with the train in Portland on August 24. They are particularly interested in consumers who are paying a lot out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs. They will need a prescription from their physician to buy drugs in Canada. Many of the travel costs are paid for by the foundation. If you, or someone you know, is interested in riding, call us at (503) 655-2793.

Join Us for a Health Care Canvass
We will be talking with Oregonians about common-sense solutions to the health care crisis and signing up health care voters.

Saturday, Aug. 14 10 AM
410 NE 18th St., Portland (18th and Sandy)

To RSVP or for more information contact us at 503-655-2793 or  info@oregoniansforhealthsecurity.org


Oregonians for Health Security

9813 SE Hwy 212 Clackamas, OR 97015 (503) 655-2793 (503) 655-2879 fax  http://www.oregoniansforhealthsecurity.org