Ada Commishes have endorsed a “discount drug card” scheme put forth by pharmacy giant CVS which can cost residents nearly twice what they would pay for the same medicine at COSTCO. The GUARDIAN did “apples for apples” test shopping on three of the most commonly prescribed drugs.
Here is what we found:
Ada Commishes and the National Association of Counties have agreed to do do promotion and marketing for CVS, a national pharmacy chain, by distributing free “discount cards” at county offices. Ada County even got the local hospitals to join in the effort to distribute the cards.
If the true purpose of the CVS endorsement is to get pharmaceuticals to those who need them at an affordable price, Ada Commishes should pass out cards on behalf of COSTCO and ask the hospitals to do the same as they advocated for the more expensive Rite Aid/CVS discount card plan.
The Commishes held a media event and hinted that taxpayer money would be saved if indigent people were able to take prescribed medicine and not force the county to pay for medical care because drugs were too expensive. COSTCO offers a free card at its pharmacy with no “membership” requirement–same thing Ada County offers on behalf of CVS. We compared “discount card prices at both COSTCO and Rite Aid. These plans are for uninsured or underinsured customers and are not part of any insurance plans. There are no parameters for age, income, residency, etc. on either plan.
NOTE: The GUARDIAN has no stake in COSTCO in any manner whatsoever. We simply think the Commishes got “hoodwinked” by CVS and need to admit it. There are plenty of reasons to shop one retailer over another (location, service, parking, convenience), but when elected public officials advocate one chain over another, we think it is inappropriate.
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