LA officials push drug discount card

Los Angeles city officials unveiled a campaign today alerting residents who cannot afford to pay for their prescription drugs of a discount card.

LARx Prescription Savings Card holders have been getting an average of 40 percent off the price of prescription drugs over the past year, but Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said many people are still unaware of it.

"With over 2.7 million Angelenos without insurance or prescription drug benefits, we are facing a health care crisis,'' he said. "It is our duty to leverage every resource possible to get this card into the hands of every L.A. resident that is uninsured or under-insured.''

Starting Wednesday, radio stations in Los Angeles will carry a message in English and Spanish about the benefits of the LARx card and ways to obtain it at no cost.

Anyone living or working in Los Angeles County is eligible to receive the LARx card, which provides discounts on virtually all brand and generic drugs.

It is accepted at 50,000 pharmacies across the country, including 1,500in the city of Los Angeles alone. Those include CVS, Rite-Aid, Savon, Walgreens, Vons, Target and Wal-mart pharmacies.

The advertising campaign will inform the public that an LARx card can be picked up for free at any of city's public libraries, community centers and senior centers. There is no registration fee.

People can also print out an LARx card by logging onto www.forlarx.com. The Web site can also be used to send a "virtual'' LARx card on a cellphone or PDA via text message which can be shown at pharmacies and used in the same way as printed LARx cards.

The website allows customers to enter their ZIP code and the medications they regularly take to see where they can get the best deal using the LARx card.

A 24-hour customer service hotline can be reached at (877) 367-5279.

Kevin Nagle, president and CEO of Envision Pharmaceutical Services, manages the LARx card program.

"This program is a first of its kind, and we believe it will change how the industry employs new tools to enable immediate access to healthcare savings programs,'' he said.