County OKs plan to fight drug costs

The pilot program gives discount cards
for prescriptions.
Friday, December 31, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 7:17 p.m. CDT, Saturday, July 5, 2008

In the coming months, Boone County residents could save an average of 21 percent on prescription drug costs.

The Boone County Commission voted Thursday to participate in a national pilot program that will issue discount cards.

Commissioners also approved a $44.7 million budget for 2005 at the meeting.

The prescription drug program is sponsored by the National Association of Counties, which is trying it out in 12 counties nationwide.

“They’re looking at the different counties — how they market — to see who has the most success in getting the cards out,” Southern District Commissioner Karen Miller said.

Residents could save an average of 35 percent on generic drugs and 14 percent on brand-name drugs, she said. The only costs to the county will be for marketing and distribution of the cards.

“Anytime you can get a discount on anything, it’s money in your pocket that you can spend on something else,” Miller said. “So hopefully, that will free up some discretionary dollars that people wouldn’t have had.”

The county has placed an order for 15,000 cards. The pharmaceutical company Caremark will issue the cards, which should be available in one to two months, Miller said.

The Columbia/Boone County Health Department will implement the program, but the cards will be available at locations throughout the county. The county plans to evaluate the program within the next year, Miller said.

Commissioners approved the 2005 budget with an additional revision, made Wednesday, to appropriate $40,000 to the county assessor’s office for professional services.

The commissioners also discussed changes in the budget process. In years past, the county auditor met with county departments to make budget decisions. This year, department heads met with the auditor and commissioners to outline financial needs.

“We just understood a whole lot more about the budget this way, and I think it’s fairer for everybody,” Miller said.

The commission also approved a request to dispose of surplus items through the online government auction Web site,

There is no cost for the county to place items on the site, and bidding is open to the public. Boone County’s surplus items, such as office chairs and desks, will be listed on the site in about three weeks.

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