L.A. Negotiates Lower Drug Prices For Residents

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The city of Los Angeles this week announced a major new prescription drug bulk purchasing plan to lower costs for residents. A five-year long effort by a number of advocacy organizations working with Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, finally resulted in success, at a time when the spiraling costs of prescription drugs figure prominently in the health care reform debate. In fact, the House version of the healthcare reform bill, opposed by conservatives, would require pharmaceutical companies to provide lower prices on prescription drugs for Americans enrolled in Medicaid and Medicare. The bill would also work toward eliminating the Medicare coverage gap. In Los Angeles, regardless of what happens at the Federal level, all residents will now have access to prescription drugs that are cheaper by 5-40% with the use of a free card at select locations. Working with a company called Envision, the city of LA has done what companies like Costco do, and what the federal government could potentially do: use the power of large numbers of people to negotiate lower drug prices. The program, called LARx, does not require enrollment, has no eligibility requirements, is free of charge, and will be available online, in public libraries, senior centers, and other public spaces.

GUEST: John Simpson, Consumer Watchdog

For more information, www.forLARx.com or call 1-877-FOR-LARX.

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