Purchasing prescription drugs became easier and cheaper for city residents on Wednesday with the debut of the BigAppleRx prescription drug program.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Deputy Mayor Linda Gibbs today launched New York City’s first official prescription discount card – offering substantial discounts throughout the five boroughs. The BigAppleRx card will be one of the most widely distributed prescription drug discount cards in the nation, and is available to anyone regardless of age, income, citizenship or health insurance status. The cards will save an average of 47 percent on prescription medications and can be used by anyone who lives, works or visits the city.
“All too often, the rising costs of prescription drugs place a burden on New York City households. And this is particularly true for the more than one million New Yorkers who don’t have health insurance,” said Bloomberg. “Having access to a free prescription drug card can mean the difference between being able to afford prescriptions and being forced to skip doses. That’s why we pledged to issue a New York City card on the campaign trail in 2009 – and now we’re fulfilling that promise with the launch of the BigAppleRx card.”
New Yorkers can instantly download and print the card, access educational information about prescriptions, compare drug prices and locate the nearest participating pharmacies. TheBigAppleRx card also has an iPhone application that allows consumers to locate their nearest pharmacy and present the card to pharmacists right from the phone.
“No one should have to be faced with the dilemma of not getting necessary medication because it’s too expensive,” said Quinn. “This drug card program will help all New Yorkers get the most cost effective medication whether or not you have insurance and also provide peace of mind.”
New Yorkers who suffer from diabetes can save up to $831 per year on generic glucose control medication, while those with asthma can potentially save $667 by using the BigAppleRx card to fill their inhaler prescriptions. Allergy sufferers, those who use birth control, people who take medication for high cholesterol or to help manage heart disease can all benefit from BigAppleRx’s discounts – up to 15 percent on brand name drugs and 53 percent on generic drugs.
“Low-cost prescription medication is essential for many people’s health and well-being,” said Thomas Farley, New York City Health Commissioner. “The BigAppleRx prescription drug discount card will help those that need affordable prescription medication and lead to better health outcomes and a healthier New York city.”
HealthTrans Access – one of the nation’s largest discount drug programs – will assist in administering the program at more than 2,000 (85 percent) of the city’s pharmacies. HealthTrans has 10.6 million discount pharmacy cardholders across the nation and the BigAppleRx card can be used at more than 58,000 pharmacies nationwide.
“HealthTrans is honored to be selected to provide such an important service to the City of New York,” said Jack McClurg, Chief Executive Officer of HealthTrans. “We are thrilled to help New Yorkers access the lowest cost medications available. We are confident the users of the card are going to be pleased with the valuable discounts they receive.”
To ensure wide distribution and to make sure all New York City communities know about the card, an extensive educational campaign will begin this week with radio, print, and informative street teams in all five boroughs. Any New Yorker or organization interested in learning how to get or distribute the BigAppleRx card should visit bigapplerx.com or call 311.