"As I'm sure most of you are well
aware, prescription drug prices are soaring out of control. That's a
huge problem for many people in Illinois, but especially for our
seniors," Blagojevich said. "In Illinois, about one out of every
three people over 65 has no prescription drug coverage whatsoever.
And for too many of those people, the price tag on their
prescription drugs has simply gone out of reach. So they have to
choose: Do I buy my medications, or do I pay my heating bill? Do I
buy my medications, or do I pay my property taxes? Do I buy my
medications -- or do I buy food?"
"That's just not right. You know it,
and I know it. So today, I am very proud to invite you to join the
Illinois Rx Buying Club. The idea is simple: We ask the 2 million
senior and disabled citizens of Illinois to join forces with state
employees and others covered by the state's health programs. Then --
with all that massive combined buying power -- we go to the
pharmaceutical companies and say: If you'll provide a substantial
discount on your products, we can deliver millions of Illinois
customers through our state buying club. And if you refuse to give
us all a good break on the price, we'll take our business to your
Blagojevich pushed for passage of the
new program during the 2003 spring legislative session and signed it
into law in June.
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The new Rx Buying Club, which went into
effect Jan. 1, is open to all Illinois residents who are 65 or older
and the disabled. There is an annual administrative fee of $25.
Unlike the Circuit Breaker and SeniorCare programs, the new discount
card program is not income-based.
Already, the state's 57,000 Circuit
Breaker participants have been automatically enrolled in the new
program so they will receive discounts on drugs that are not fully
covered by the income-based program. An additional 1,200 individuals
enrolled in the program during its first week, and another 4,600
have called the hot line for enrollment information.
The buying club provides members with
immediate savings based on rebates that the program's private
administrator, SavRx, has already negotiated with drug
manufacturers. The state will negotiate additional rebates by
combining the market leverage of Illinois' seniors and disabled with
that of more than 500,000 individuals in other state-sponsored
Individuals who are eligible for the
new Rx Buying Club can find out if the program makes economic sense
for them by asking their retail pharmacist to look up their
potential savings, based on the drugs that are prescribed to them.
information and a list of participating retail pharmacies are
available by calling toll-free 1 (866) 215-3462 or on the Web at
[News release from the