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Despite Initial Concerns, Officials Endorse Drug Prescription Cards

April 10, 2007 — Free prescription drug cards, promising discounts of up to 60 percent on generic drugs, received a thumbs-up from government officials and other community leaders during a press conference Tuesday morning at Frederiksted Baptist Church.
“We were concerned it [the cards] sounded too good to be true, but we tested the card and it worked,” said Frederiksted Baptist Pastor John Gilbert. "Without any paperwork, we just showed the card, they punched in the number, and my purchase was discounted.”
Lenny James and Luz Belardo-Webster from Delegate Donna Christensen’s St. Croix office joined Gilbert, Sen. Terrence Nelson and St. Croix American Cancer Society Chairman Louis Jackson to each talk up the drug discount cards, which are produced by American Consultants Rx, an Atlanta-based company.
In turn each said much the same things regarding their investigations into the cards’ legitimacy and the benefits they might have for some in the territory. Each also announced their respective offices will all be distributing the discount cards, which also offer discounts of up to 40 percent on brand name drugs.
Gilbert was also impressed with the ease of access and responsiveness of American Consultants owner Charles Myrick. “Just call up Mr. Myrick if you have any questions. His number is on the card, and when you call customer service, he will most likely talk to you himself right then,” said Gilbert.
Jackson also tested the card on a personal prescription and received a similar discount.
“No, it does not supplant your health care plan, but there are a lot of people who can benefit,” said Jackson. “With the cost of cancer medications, many patients really struggle to be able to purchase their prescriptions.”
“The idea is to help as many that are economically challenged as we can,” said Nelson. “My office is happy to be a part of this move toward affordable health care in the Virgin Islands. If you can save yourself money, why not?”
The cards have no conditions, no requirements, no fees and no expiration dates. The discounts are based upon contracts between American Consultants Rx and various drug retailers. Those contracts could change in the future, so the discounts are not necessarily permanent. The discounts are for cash purchases.
None of the proponents of the plan had clear answers as to how the discounts are financed or why. However every card has the web site, www.2spendless.com, posted where it cannot be missed. That site has a wide array of discount promotions and advertising links.
There is also a logo with the words, “powered by Agelity.” That sponsoring company markets both a discount drug program and a program where organizations can buy in and offer the discount drug program under their own corporate name.
The drug discounts appear to be offered in exchange for free or discounted advertising and participation in various types of promotions. As with all such promotions, the claim of savings “up to” 60 percent means savings of less than that amount.
But the company claims all prescription drugs have some discount. As the cards are free, with no paperwork or requirements, regardless of how American Consultants Rx makes their money there does not appear to be any risk to the consumer. Unlike most insurance, the discount cards travel with you and are accepted at virtually every major pharmacy chain.
“I don’t see any negative side to this,” said Nelson. “It seems all positive to me — pun intended.”
You can get a discount card from Nelson’s St. Croix office: (340) 712-2210; from Christensen’s offices on St. Croix: (340) 778-5900 and St. Thomas: 774-4408; from Gilbert at Frederiksted Baptist; (340) 772-2920 or from Jackson at (340) 642-0300. They are also available from the Lighthouse Mission: (340) 773-3551. And lastly, they can be downloaded from the American Consultants Rx website.

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