DUNEDIN — Dunedin will roll out a prescription drug discount program that has saved the uninsured and under-insured millions over the last two years.
Beginning today, the city will issue free prescription drug discount cards to any resident of the city, regardless of age or income.
"We're seeing a lot of unemployed people going to the library, using our Internet, searching for jobs, asking the reference librarians for sites to search for positions," said Nancy Duggan, Dunedin's human resources director. "A lot of those people may not have health insurance right now."
Dunedin officials don't know how many of its 38,000 residents live without health insurance, but Duggan said the city decided the discount card program "was well worth offering if it only affected just a few families to help them purchase drugs that they need."
The National League of Cities started the program in January 2009.
In its first year, savings across the country reached $1.4 million. Now in its second year, the program offers average savings of 24 percent off the retail price of commonly prescribed drugs in about 430 cities, said Marc Shapiro, the league's director of enterprise programs.
Gulfport, Oldsmar and Seminole are among them.
"The savings to residents to date in those (430) cities has been over $3.5 million," he said.
Since Oldsmar began offering the discount program in April, 60 residents have filled 117 prescriptions and saved a total of $637.18, administrative services director Al Braithwaite said.
The city discount cards are similar to ones the National Association of Counties has offered since 2008 in Pinellas County.
There are no enrollment forms and no limits on the number of times that individuals can use the card. The city cards cannot be used in conjunction with Medicaid, Medicare or any other insurance plan. Pets are covered if they need prescribed medications used to treat human conditions. And "there's no cost to the city of Dunedin to offer the program," Duggan said. "It's only coordination efforts."
Dunedin residents can pick up cards from several locations, including the library and the human resources department.
The cards will be accepted at designated Medicine Shoppe, Sweetbay, CVS and Walgreens pharmacies as well as more than 60,000 other participating locations across the country.
Rodney Thrash can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 445-4167.