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Pontiac — A free prescription drug card program has helped Oakland County residents save more than $2.6 million in less than three years.

It’s even resulted in some extra revenue for county health initiatives aimed at discouraging high schoolers from abusing prescription drugs.

The Coast2Coast RX program, operated by Financial Marketing Concepts Inc. of Florida, was introduced in April 2013 and has 7,649 prescription card users.

“We are pleased with the positive impact the Coast2CoastRx program has made with our residents and for our county,” said Michael J. Gingell, Board of Commissioners chairman.

Gingell, R-Orion Township, said the program, which doesn’t cost the county anything, replaced NACO Rx, which didn’t offer discounts as deep.

“It is not health insurance, but it can be a big help for persons without insurance and a substantial savings even for those covered by some plan,” Gingell said.

Unlike some prescription card programs, there are no charges, and people can enroll any time online, according to Alexandra Miller, spokeswoman for Financial Marketing Concepts.

“It can be used instead of any existing prescription card program you might have connected with your health insurance,” she said. The free Rx card can be used at all pharmacy chains and most independent pharmacies in Michigan. The program includes more than 60,000 drugs — including prescriptions for pets.

Miller said Oakland County is the only county in Michigan to endorse the program. It continues as long as the county doesn’t end its association with Coast2Coast.

The nationwide Coast2CoastRx program is available to any county resident regardless of income, age or health status. Cardholders on average save 68 percent on prescriptions, according to county officials. Residents have saved a total of $882,699 this year.

Coast2Coast Rx said a cardholder covered by health insurance will probably receive the greatest benefit by using his or her health insurance prescription card. While only one card can be used when filling a prescription, if a prescription is not covered under a particular plan, then someone can go to a participating network pharmacy and use the Coast2Coast Rx card.

A cardholder and family can use the card as often as needed. Family members include all dependents, including grandchildren.

Commissioner David Woodard, D-Royal Oak, said the prescription drug card program has something commissioners — whether Democrat and Republican — can agree on: savings.

“This has not only resulted in bigger discounts and help for persons without health insurance, but it has also provided royalties to the county which can be used for other health-related activities,” he said.

Woodward said the county has offered a prescription card program for more than a decade. But the current agreement for the first time has also netted the return of royalties — amounts paid on the number of people who buy prescriptions through the drug card program — of about $40,000 to date.

Woodward said about $15,000 has been used for a public information campaign called the Youth Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Campaign and aimed at warning high schoolers about the dangers of prescription drug abuse. That program was approved by the board this month.

Other health programs are being discussed, according to board officials.

mmartindale@detroitnews.com

(248) 338-0319

How to get a card

Pick one up at the Oakland County Research Library, treasurer’s lobby or county clerk’s e-services lobby at 1200 N. Telegraph, Pontiac.

Download it at www.oakgov.com/boc or at www.coast2coastrx.com/counties/mi/oakland.

Call (800) 931-8872.

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