Saturday, February 15, 2003

Butler Co. starts prescription drug help


Needy benefit from discounts

By Steve Kemme
The Cincinnati Enquirer

HAMILTON - Butler County will use federal funding to start a program giving low-income people not on Medicaid access to prescription drugs at a small charge.

The commissioners voted Thursday to set aside $100,000 in federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) money for a prescription drug program offered by a private company in Marion, Ohio, called Prescription Relief.

For a charge of $7 per prescription per month, this company will provide 3,500-4,000 Butler County residents with prescription drugs. The county's $100,000 is a one-time expense to cover the company's $25 application fee.

Single people earning $13,000 a year or less and married couples earning $25,000 a year or less would qualify if they are not on Medicaid or if they need drugs not covered by Medicaid.

"This would enable us to serve a real need in the community," said Commissioner Mike Fox, who instigated the proposal.

Pharmaceutical manufacturers offer free prescription drugs to low-income people, but few people know this, and the application process is cumbersome, Fox said. Prescription Relief simplifies matters by handling the transaction with the companies.

Fox said he thinks Butler County will be the first or one of the first counties in Ohio to offer such a program for low-income residents. Prescription Relief is negotiating with Franklin County to take over its prescription drug program, said Douglas Pierce, the company's director of operations.

To fund the program, the commissioners transferred $100,000 in CDBG money that had been tentatively earmarked for Lemon Township's proposed program to replace deteriorating sidewalks. They also decided to transfer the remaining $112,000 in CDBG money proposed for Lemon Township's sidewalks to Madison Township for purchase of land for a township park..

E-mail skemme@enquirer.com




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