Despite big savings, few have signed up for Connecticut drug discount card

Connecticut’s new ArrayRx discount card could save you hundreds of dollars on prescription drugs. Anyone can get one, but fewer than 1% of residents have signed up so far, according to new figures released Thursday.

John Craven

Jan 11, 2024, 10:12 PM

Updated 195 days ago

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Connecticut’s new ArrayRx discount card could save you hundreds of dollars on prescription drugs. Anyone can get one, but fewer than 1% of residents have signed up so far, according to new figures released Thursday.
“Fifteen thousand is a great start, but we've got 3 million people in this state,” state Comptroller Sean Scanlon told reporters at Stoll’s Pharmacy in Waterbury.

$203 AVERAGE SAVINGS

In other states, it has saved patients an average of 20% off name-brand drugs and 80% off generics. In Connecticut, those who have already signed up saved an average of $203 per person on 1,800 prescriptions, according to the comptroller’s office.
“This is going to help those people who work hard and they maybe have two or three part-time jobs, so they don't have insurance coverage,” said Stoll’s owner Edward Schreiner.
People who do have insurance – but must meet a high deductible – can also save money.
The savings come from buying power. Connecticut is partnering with three other states – Washington, Nevada and Oregon – to negotiate lower prices.
Top 5 Prescriptions Filled by Count:
DrugUsageNumber filled
Atorvastatin calciumHigh cholesterol31
Rosuvastatin calciumHigh cholesterol; stroke and heart attack prevention24
Metoprolol succinate extended releaseHigh blood pressure, chest pain, and heart failure24
LisinoprilHigh blood pressure; heart failure21
Levothyroxine sodiumHypothyroidism17

SLOW ACCEPTANCE

Approximately 98% of Connecticut’s 679 pharmacies accept ArrayRx. But with no marketing budget, Scanlon has had to personally travel across the state to get the word out. He plans to ask lawmakers for more money for a limited campaign this year.
That’s why the comptroller stopped by Stoll’s, a 60-year institution in Waterbury.
“I’ve been the owner for 35 years,” said Schreiner. “It’s been here a few more than that.”
Over those years, Schreiner has seen the price of prescriptions skyrocket – and customers struggle to pay.
“You can tell sometimes, just by the look on somebody’s face,” he said.

BIGGER PROBLEM

Discounts are nice, but Scanlon said the real problem is that drugs are just too expensive. Tackling that issue is a lot more complicated.
At the national level, Medicare can now negotiate prices on 10 common drugs, but patients won’t see the savings until 2026.
At the state level, pharmacy benefit managers – the “middlemen” who negotiate drug rebates for insurance companies and keep part of the money – face added scrutiny. But according to Scanlon, many PBMS have found loopholes around the law.
“It’s a very shady, not transparent process,” he said. “And we have tried very hard to bring transparency to it.”
Until prices level off, Stoll’s will do what they can to keep his customers healthy.
“We’ll do everything we can to get those drugs into people's hands,” said Schreiner. “There have been occasions where I sold it below what it cost me to get it.”


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