Schenectady County Expands Canadian Drug Program
By Dave Lucas
Schenectady, NY – With Health care and the cost of prescription medication a front-burner issue in today's economic times, one county government is taking steps to enhance the health and wealth of its residents. Capital District Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports.
Projected savings from a major expansion of Schenectady County's innovative Canadian prescription drug plan total more than $13 million since the program's inception in 2005. Earlier this year, Schenectady County reached agreements with two unions representing County employees, CSEA and 1199 SEIU, which means 90% of their employees will be covered under the plan. All Schenectady county residents qualify under the Schenectady County Prescription Drug Discount Card initiative, a partnership with ProAct Inc, a Pharmacy Benefit Management Company based in Central NY. Schenectdays's CanRx program is currently limited to Schenectady County employees and retirees, but there is a possibility it could be expanded.
Canadian drugs account for almost 60-percent of prescriptions in the county: Seven years ago, the US FDA issued warning letters questioning the legality drug reimportation. Canadian drug provider CanaRx responded in September 2003 - The FDA met in Ottawa with its north of the border counterpart Health Canada, where they were assured that CanaRx and its' operations were legal. CanRx figures show more than a million Americans now buy their medication in Canada.