Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pinellas residents can get free discount drug cards

Prescription drug costs can be a financial burden, especially for the estimated 200,000 Pinellas County residents who live without health insurance.

Now there's a new option for those looking to lessen that load, thanks to a program sponsored by the National Association of Counties.

Simply get a NACo Prescription Discount Card available at Pinellas health and human services offices, as well as state Health Department offices and other locations, and start saving.

There's no enrollment form, income limits, membership fee or restrictions on how frequently you use the card, which offers an average savings of 22 percent off the retail price of commonly prescribed drugs.

The card can be used at Walgreens, Costco, CVS, Wal-Mart, Albertsons, Target and other participating pharmacies in the county.

It may not be used in conjunction with any health insurance plan, including Medicare and Medicaid, but will help those seeking discounts on drugs not covered by their plans or who lack health insurance.

"We do so much work with the homeless and the indigent," said Lynn Kiehne, a county health care administrator, "this is something that we could offer to all citizens."

The National Association of Counties provides the discount cards through an agreement with CVS Caremark, a company that negotiates with pharmaceutical companies for price breaks.

When you present the card to pay for a prescription, you're entitled to the retail price of the drug being offered by the pharmacy, or the negotiated "card price," whichever is lower.

Though a pharmacy may at times offer a lower price on a given drug, the card price is the better deal 84 percent of the time, said Andrew Goldschmidt, NACo's director of membership marketing.

Built into the card price is a fee of $3.50. About a dollar of that goes to Caremark, Goldschmidt said, and the rest to the pharmacy.

"Obviously, Caremark makes money on this program," he said, "but we don't make any money on the program, nor do the counties."

You can also use the card to get discounts on drugs for your pets — as long as they aren't covered by insurance. That's because many medications, including certain antibiotics and antianxiety drugs, are prescribed to both humans and animals.

NACo took the card program nationwide in 2005. Today, more than 1,000, or about a third, of the nation's counties participate.

Hernando County was the first in Florida, back in 2005. Including Pinellas, the card is now available in 46 Florida counties.

"I'm very happy with it," said Jean Rags, Hernando's health and human services director. "It's been very helpful to a number of residents who are under-insured or uninsured."

Will Van Sant can be reached at or 445-4166.


To learn more

The card is available at county health and human services offices in Pinellas, state Health Department offices and county government offices and senior/community centers. For locations, go to To learn more, call health and human services grant coordinator Kathy Mitchell at (727) 464-8410 or e-mail her at Residents also may call 1-877-321-2652 or visit

Pinellas residents can get free discount drug cards 05/08/08 [Last modified: Friday, May 9, 2008 5:41pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Lightning's Steven Stamkos looks close to top form in first game since November

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Lightning captain Steven Stamkos was curious how he would feel — and perform — in Friday's exhibition against Nashville, his first game since mid-November knee surgery.

    The Lightning’s Alex Killorn, left, makes his preseason debut and has an assist in a 3-1 win against the Predators at Amalie Arena.
  2. Steven Souza Jr. vindicating big trade for Rays

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — There was a time when the three-team, 11-player transaction the Rays orchestrated to get Steven Souza Jr. from the Nationals looked liked a bad deal.

    The Rays’ Steven Souza Jr. has 30 home runs while improving his defense and baserunning.
  3. Fennelly: Lightning's Manon Rheaume made history 25 years ago Saturday

    Lightning Strikes

    The name is part of Lightning history, hockey history, sports history.

    Lightning goalie Manon Rheaume became the first woman to play in an NHL game 25 years ago today.
  4. Investigators reviewing HHS chief's private charter flights


    WASHINGTON — Federal investigators are examining Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price's recent use of costly charter flights on the taxpayers' dime for official business.

  5. FSU gives president John Thrasher a pay bump as its academic standing rises


    TALLAHASSEE — With Florida State University moving closer to becoming a top-25 public university, the school's trustees on Friday bumped up President John Thrasher's salary by 7 percent and awarded him a $200,000 bonus.

    Florida State University President John Thrasher, center, is surrounded by lawmakers in 2016 as he visits the Florida Senate. Thrasher on Friday received a pay increase to go with the university's increased academic standing, including in the latest U.S. News & World Report ranking of public universities. FSU ranks 33rd this year, and is aiming for a top-25 spot. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]