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Please begin with an informative title:

I've been posting diaries here since 2004 - I don't know how to title this so it doesn't look like spam. It isn't spam - trust me.

Friday I posted a diary about a little known program in WA and OR that can save you up to 75% on the price of prescription drugs. It turns out there is a nationally available program that, while not as good as what WA and OR offer, can still save you about 33% in some cases. You can check online to see if it's worth it for you, with no signup or having to provide personal information.

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The program is called FamilyWize.

Disclaimer: I have no experience with this program - I found it while searching for newspaper articles on the WA program. If someone has experience with it, please post a comment. Note, for example, that the program description - excerpt and link below - doesn't even state that the program is non-profit. There may also be similar and possibly better programs in your state - check around.

The program can be found here. They say:

The goal of the FamilyWize® Community Service Partnership, Inc is to reduce the cost of prescription medicine for children, families and individuals by $1 billion by the end of 2015. We believe that stronger, healthier and happier people make healthier and better communities.

We deliver these savings by distributing free prescription drug discount cards. These pharmacy discount cards are provided free of charge both to the organizations and agencies helping to distribute the drug cards and to the people who receive the cards. All funding for the FamilyWize prescription card program is provided by part of the dispensing fee that is included in the cost of medicines when a FamilyWize card is used to save you money, and by in-kind donations and reduced costs from the program sponsors.

The FamilyWize Community Service Partnership was established in 2005 by Dan and Susan Barnes to reduce the cost of prescriptions for people who live and work in Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania. Distribution of these cards was later coordinated by the local United Way. United Ways in other communities quickly heard about the program and started asking if they could get cards for their communities. Sadly, many families in the United States need a FamilyWize card, either because they have no health insurance or they have to buy medicine that is not covered by their insurance, Medicaid or Medicare plans.

More than thirty thousand community and faith-based organizations, county agencies, doctors, pharmacies, companies, and individuals across the country are now joined together in this partnership to distribute free FamilyWize prescription drug discount cards in their communities, reducing the cost of medicine for people in 96% of counties in the United States. More than 1,000 participating United Ways, America’s Promise Alliance Partners, and individual counties in all 50 states have volunteered to coordinate these distribution efforts.

All of the major pharmacies in my area, including Safeway, WalMart and Costco, participate in the program. On the right hand side of the page there is a pharmacy look-up button. There's also a price look-up button.

As I diaried here, the WA and OR program provides significant savings on my prescriptions. Doxycycline, which I buy monthly used to cost me $51.19 a month - under the Washington Prescription Drug Program (WPDP) I paid $11.15. Lisinopril, which I buy as a 3-month supply, was costing me $40. The WPDP price in $12.65.

FamilyWize doesn't appear to be quite that good. The FamilyWize price for lisinopril was $27.08, compared to my WPDP price of $12.65, or the undiscounted price of $40. I couldn't find my doxycycline dosage listed - and other than the standard 100mg dosage I take, some drug companies actually hold patents on different applications/dosages of this generic drug, and charge astronomical prices - hundreds of dollars for a smaller dose of the same drug I pay $11 for.

Apparently these programs aren't getting the publicity they should. In the poll on the WA/OR program diary, only 3 of 46 respondents from WA/OR had heard of the program, and I expect dKos readers to be better informed than average. A search of the Seattle PI newspaper (now online only) turned up nothing on the WPDP program - and they wonder why newspapers are dieing. This is a program passed by the legislature and initiated and signed by Governor Gregoire that benefits any WA resident. Even my sister-in-law-the-nurse had never heard of it (and is getting a card to save money on my brother-in-law's prescriptions). The PI did have an article on FamilyWize, which is how I found it. In true modern journalism fashion, it appears to be more or less a reprint of a FamilyWize press release.

If you have no insurance, or no drug coverage, or even a high deductible for coverage, check prices at the FamilyWize site (and be careful signing up!) and see if it helps you. If you're in WA or OR, though, go to my previous diary and sign up for the state-sponsored programs.

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