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Statement on Together Rx Discount Drug Card Program

April 10, 2002

(Washington, DC): The American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine (ACP-ASIM) commends the pharmaceutical research companies involved in today's announcement for this important initiative to make prescription drugs more affordable for lower-income Medicare patients. Although many industry-sponsored drug discount cards are already available to Medicare patients, the value of such cards has been limited due to the confusion experienced by elderly and disabled patients in having to obtain different cards from different sources, each with their own set of rules, discounts, list of drugs eligible for the discount, and participating retailers.

Today's agreement will combine the multiple drug discount programs run independently by each company into a single, simplified discount card program. The program offers the potential of providing meaningful discounts to eligible lower-income Medicare beneficiaries without supplemental drug coverage for a wide range of therapeutic agents, including many of the medications prescribed by ACP-ASIM members. The companies involved in today's announcement offer a substantial proportion of the prescription drugs commonly prescribed by internists for their Medicare patients.

Discount programs, such as the one announced today, should be viewed only as an interim step toward a comprehensive strategy to assure that Medicare patients, particularly those of limited means, will have access to affordable prescription drugs. We re-affirm our call for Congress to enact a voluntary Medicare drug benefit with sustainable financing and manageable costs.

ACP-ASIM is the nation's largest medical specialty society and the second largest professional medical association. The College represents over 115,000 physicians who specialize in internal medicine and medical students with an interest in internal medicine.

For information about Together RX please call 800-865-7211.

Reporters may contact the American College of Physicians - American Society of Internal Medicine's Public Affair Department at 202-261-4500.

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