MD, WI Set Up Prescription Drug Sites

April 29, 2004 ( - As the war on the high cost of prescription drugs continues across the country at all levels of government, two states have unveiled Web sites to help citizens find the best drug bargains.

Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, a Democrat, unveiled on Tuesday a new Web site that allows people to enter their ZIP code and the name of a prescription drug to compare prices at pharmacies locally and around the state.

“We all know how high prescription drug prices are, and close to one million people in Maryland have no insurance coverage for drugs they depend on,” Curran said in a statement posted to his Web site . “But most people do not realize that prices can vary widely from store to store, and they can save a lot of money by comparison shopping.”

Curran said Tuesday that about 700,000 Maryland residents younger than 65 do not have health insurance and more than 220,000 Medicare beneficiaries do not receive prescription drug coverage.

Maryland officials said the new offering is the first to use pricing data from pharmacies’ Medicaid reimbursement requests so it can be updated regularly. It also includes all pharmacies in the State of Maryland.

Meanwhile, in related news, a collaboration of almost a dozen health and professional associations launched a Web site clearinghouse on Tuesday to help Wisconsin residents “navigate through a maze of programs offering free or discounted prescription drugs.”

Patients that log onto the site have to respond to nine questions, including age and income, to access information on the drug programs they qualify for out of about 250 linked private assistance programs. The Web site, which took two years to develop, is funded by the pharmaceutical industry.