Arkansas Cancels Prescription Drug Discount Program Because of Lack of Interest
[May 16, 2007]
The Arkansas Department of Health and Human Services has decided to cancel Arkansas Rx, a state prescription drug discount program scheduled to begin enrolling uninsured state residents this year, according to department spokesperson Julie Munsell, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports. Supporters of the program in 2005, when the program received funding approval, said that as many as 400,000 uninsured state residents would have qualified for the program.
However, only 2,800 uninsured Arkansas residents have expressed interest in the program, a number that would not have allowed the state to negotiate bulk discounts on prescription drugs, Munsell said. She attributed the lack of interest in the program, which the state promoted with a radio and newspaper advertising campaign, to the increased number of alternatives -- such as the Medicare prescription drug benefit, discounts on generic medications offered by Wal-Mart Stores pharmacies and discount programs sponsored by pharmaceutical companies. About 21 states have established or authorized prescription drug discount programs for low-income adults, according to Richard Cauchi, health program director for the National Conference of State Legislatures (Manthey, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 5/15).