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New Member Incentive Encourages Consumers and Payors to ``Win With Generics''; Prime Therapeutics Program Aggressively Promotes Generic Education and Utilization.

Business Editors/Health/Medical Writers

ST. PAUL, Minn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--June 24, 2003

A new program for health plans and employers called Win With Generics(SM) encourages consumers to request and physicians to prescribe generic drugs. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas will be the first to implement the program developed by Prime Therapeutics Inc., a pharmacy benefit management company. With the average generic drug costing about $20 versus $75 for a typical brand-name drug, consumers, employers and health plans can collectively save billions of dollars a year by choosing generics.

At the heart of Win With Generics is a member incentive program that provides an immediate financial reward in the form of a waived copayment at thousands of participating retail pharmacies. The program focuses on about 45 costly brand-name drugs that pharmacists can easily substitute with a generic equivalent. Members can receive the one-time waived copayment by asking their pharmacist or physician to switch their brand-name prescription with a generic drug. Unlike other generic drug incentive programs, members do not have the inconvenience of having to present a coupon - the cost savings occur automatically at the pharmacy.

Plan or group savings from the member incentive can be significant. For example, a group with 3,000 targeted members is projected to see a first year savings of nearly $500,000, assuming that 30 percent of the eligible members switch to a generic medication and continue with the generic therapy.

Prime Therapeutics is launching the member incentive program with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas, where it will be offered to about 2,300 members in late July, and run through October 31 of this year.

Other Win With Generics components include a Web-based drug cost calculator that enables consumers to learn the approximate retail price of hundreds of prescription drugs, member and provider education materials, and letters to targeted members informing them of low-cost generic alternatives. In addition, Prime offers a continuous review of the pharmaceutical industry's generic pipeline and provides timely alerts to clients. Health plans and sponsors can implement the entire Win With Generics program, or individual components can be implemented separately to augment an existing strategy.

"With so many widely used brand-name drugs going off patent, it's essential for health plans, sponsors and members to capitalize on cost-saving opportunities without compromising the quality of pharmacy care," said Tim Dickman, Prime Therapeutics CEO. "Increasing generic utilization is a win/win scenario that begins with education."

Prime Therapeutics, Inc. is a pharmacy benefits management company dedicated to providing innovative, clinically based, cost-effective pharmacy solutions for its clients and their members. Providing services nationwide to approximately nine million covered lives, its client base includes several Blue Cross Blue Shield plans, employers, union groups and third-party administrators. Headquartered in St. Paul, Minnesota, Prime Therapeutics is collectively owned by several Blue Cross Blue Shield plans or parents, subsidiaries or affiliates of those plans. Learn more at www.primetherapeutics.com.
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Publication:Business Wire
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 24, 2003
Words:489
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