10-25-2016  6:52 am      •     
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Oregonians who have no prescription drug coverage are signing up for a state program open to nearly everyone.
The Oregon Prescription Drug Program is the state's bulk-purchasing pool for prescription medications and offers savings up to 60 percent for uninsured citizens. The program was expanded following approval of Ballot Measure 44 by voters in November. The measure removed previous age and income eligibility restrictions for the prescription program. 
Many of those attending an AARP-sponsored enrollment assistance event at the Cascade Campus of Portland Community College recently took information home with them; others signed up for the program. Information is also available online at www.opdp.org or the toll-free number1-888-441-OPDP.
"The increasing costs of health care and prescription medications are placing a real hardship on Oregonians who do not have health insurance with drug coverage," said Gov. Ted Kulongoski.
Changes under Measure 44 will offer relief on prescription drug costs for the more than 600,000 uninsured adults and children who are without prescription drug coverage. 
The governor also secured a federal waiver that will allow some older Oregonians enrolled in the Medicare Part D prescription drug program to be eligible for the state drug program.
"The Oregon Prescription Drug Program is a proven approach that will now be even better at allowing our state to tackle the skyrocketing costs of prescription drugs and bringing more affordable, accessible medicines to Oregonians of all ages," said Jerry Cohen, state director of AARP Oregon.
Cohen, along with Sen. Bill Morrisette, D-Springfield, served as one of Measure 44's co-petitioners. "This is a solid and critical first step in lowering health care costs for everyone and creating a healthy Oregon."
The Northwest Prescription Drug Consortium, a partnership between the state drug program and a similar purchasing pool in the state of Washington, signed a contract with The ODS Companies for Pharmacy Benefit Administration services.  The contract, which takes effect Feb.1, promises to increase savings for the drug program members, to improve the program's administrative efficiency and to make drug purchasing through the program even more transparent.  
Kulongoski said he also wants to further expand the drug program to include private employers.
For more information about the program contact Missy Dolan, administrator of the Oregon Prescription Drug Program at 503-373-1595.

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