Drug Importation Program Sign-Up Low

November 30, 2004 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Despite a large media interest in the government prescription drug importation program for Illinois, Wisconsin and Missouri, few state residents have opted to sign up.

The “I-SaveRx” program, instituted by Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, was expected to be hugely popular with the three state’s residents. However, the program, which imports cheaper prescription drugs from Canada and Europe, has only had 1,200 people sign on in the two months since its launch, according to the Chicago Sun Times.

Aides to the Governor were still optimistic, however, citing the short time-frame that the plan has been in motion as a reason for the low turnout, according to the Sun Times. They point to the larger figure of 29,000, which represents the number of people who have requested enrollment forms.

The three states have a combined population of 23 million, of which 5 million supposedly lack prescription drug insurance. Aides said that they expect more of these people to sign up in the future, according to the Sun Times.

The program, meant to bring cheaper prescription drugs into the states against the wishes of federal regulators, was instituted in early October (See Illinois, Wisconsin Kick Off Drug Buying Program ).

I-SaveRxhas safeguards built in and includes thorough oversight of network pharmacies, officials said. Before ordering from the program, new enrollees must mail or have their doctor fax a completed health profile form and signed prescription to a clearinghouse. Once the clearinghouse has received the prescription and health profile form, it will conduct an initial scan for appropriateness using the same drug interaction software used in Illinois pharmacies.

If the prescription passes the interaction test, it will then be turned over to a network physician in the country from which the medication will be dispensed, who will review and rewrite the prescription for a local network pharmacy. The pharmacy will perform a final safety check to comply with local laws and regulations before dispensing the medication.

For more information on the importation program, please see http://www.I-SaveRx.net.