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A chargeless pharmacy abatement agenda clearly launched in Maine on Tuesday promises consumers abrupt discounts on decree drugs.

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The Maine Rx Agenda aims to advice both uninsured and insured association nab accumulation averaging 30 percent on decree medications at bounded pharmacies. The card, chargeless and accessible to all behindhand of age or income, offers perks, but one able in the acreage advises consumers to access such cards with a advantageous dosage of skepticism.

The Maine Rx Agenda has been accessible in Maine for two years, but the affairs is aloof now dispatch up efforts to get the chat out by partnering with the Maine Medical Association, said Alix Cousins of Maine Rx Card.

The program’s website boasts accumulation of up to 75 percent at added than 56,000 pharmacies nationwide, including CVS, Hannaford, Target, Walgreens and abounding others.

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What’s the catch?

“There is no catch,” Cousins said. “It’s absolutely adjourned through the accord of pharmacies and biologic companies. That’s why it’s accessible chargeless to the public. It’s not adjourned by aborigine dollars, there’s no applications or restrictions, anyone can use it.”

Like the abounding added biologic abatement cards on the market, the Maine Rx Agenda is backed by a aggregation accepted as a “pharmacy allowances manager” that negotiates discounts with accommodating pharmacies. The discounts can alter from medication to medication.

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Pharmacy allowances managers admit added organizations to bazaar their card. For Maine Rx Card, that’s United Networks of America, a Louisiana aggregation operating agnate programs in all 50 states, and the Maine Medical Association, which represents physicians and medical students.

The pharmacy allowances administrator abaft Maine Rx Card, Milwaukee-based Restat, stands out for its agreement not to advertise consumers’ advice to marketers, Cousins said.

“If addition picks up addition agenda that they get in the mail and it’s not a Maine Rx Card, affairs are their claimed advice is activity to be awash to solicitors,” she said.

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Some agenda marketers aggregate users’ names and addresses and ambition them with announcement based on their decree history, explained Dr. Richard Sagall, architect of NeedyMeds, a Gloucester, Mass.-based nonprofit that offers its own biologic abatement card. A accommodating who fills a decree for insulin, for example, ability alpha accepting ads for diabetic supplies, he said.

Besides affairs consumers’ claimed information, some agenda marketers accomplish money by earning a transaction fee every time a agenda is used, according to Sagall. The pharmacy allowances administrator and the pharmacies additionally access fees.

The Maine Rx Agenda keeps transaction fees lower by active a web-based business chargeless of brick-and-mortar aerial costs, Cousins said. The Maine Medical Association is compensated for its assignment business the card, she said.

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“With this chargeless program, patients after insurance, those accustomed a aerial deductible, or anyone advantageous abounding amount for a decree will no best accept to pay the accomplished amount for their medication,” Gordon Smith, Maine Medical Association controlling carnality president, said in a columnist absolution announcement the card’s launch. “We acclaim that these patients access the agenda and alpha accepting accumulation immediately.”

What’s in it for the pharmacy affairs a $200 biologic for $125? The pharmacy still earns a accumulation alike at the discounted price, sells a decree to a new chump who couldn’t contrarily allow the drug, builds chump loyalty, keeps business it could lose to competitors by not alms the card, and gets a adventitious to allure the agenda user with non-pharmacy items, such as bonbon or cosmetics, according to Sagall.

The transaction fees are congenital into the prices patients ultimately pay at the pharmacy counter, said Sagall, who aforetime accomplished at Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor.

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“If the agenda banker is authoritative money and the Maine Medical Association is authoritative money, again the accommodating pays for it,” he said. “It absolutely pays to boutique about with cards. Pharmacies don’t like it, but you may appetite to accompany a brace of cards in and see who gives the best discount.”

Discounts may alter from pharmacy to pharmacy and alike from ages to month, he said. Find the agenda that seems to assignment best for you on the whole, Sagall said. Biologic abatement cards can accommodate absolute savings, aloof do your homework, he said.

“Like annihilation else, it’s client beware and boutique around,” he said.

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The Maine Rx Agenda is not bloom allowance or accompanying to civic bloom affliction reform, Cousins noted. It’s additionally not affiliated with accompaniment government, clashing a similar-sounding affairs alleged Maine Rx Plus sponsored by the Maine Department of Bloom and Human Services.

Maine association can access a chargeless card, chase biologic appraisement and locate accommodating pharmacies by visiting www.MaineRxCard.com. The cards additionally will be accessible at bloom centers, hospitals, clinics and added sites actuality set up beyond the state. Consumers may additionally alarm Maine Rx Agenda at 504-5370.

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