March 28, 2008
Jefferson City, Mo. — Attorney General Jay Nixon today distributed $153,344 in technology grants to 49 organizations throughout Missouri to help them link seniors and low-income residents with free or low-cost prescription drugs. The grants will help organizations obtain the necessary computer software, hardware and training to connect Missourians with almost 200 drug distribution programs offered by pharmaceutical companies.
Today’s distribution is the second round of grants the Attorney General’s Office has made. On Tuesday (March 25), 46 organizations began receiving $127,215 in the first round of grants. Nixon announced last month that almost $630,000 would be available for the grants from a settlement his office reached with Caremark Rx LLC, one of the nation’s largest pharmacy benefits management (PBM) companies.
“This is a tremendous opportunity to help hundreds of thousands of Missourians who have difficulty in affording life-saving prescription drugs, all without cost to Missouri taxpayers,” Nixon said.
The second round of grants ranges from $1,500 to $9,265. The grants will enable the organizations, which work with seniors and low-income residents, to purchase two-year licenses to use already available software. The software coordinates linking prescription drug patients with matching free or low-cost drug programs from manufacturers. The grants also can be used for hardware or training.
Interested organizations can still apply for the grants until April 21, 2008. Any organization that wants to apply for grants from Nixon’s Prescription Drug Access Technology Initiative should do so through the Attorney General’s Web site, ago.mo.gov, or should obtain a hard copy of the application by calling the Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-800-392-8222.
The settlement with Caremark resolved concerns about the company’s drug-switching program. Caremark paid nearly $38.5 million nationwide to Missouri and 28 other participating states to settle the claims. The settlement required the states to use $22 million of the settlement to benefit low-income, disabled or elderly consumers of prescription medications, to promote lower drug costs for their residents, to educate consumers concerning the cost differences among medications, or for similar purposes. Missouri’s share for that purpose was nearly $630,000. The settlement also required Caremark to significantly change its business practices.