CHICAGO—Governor Rod Blagojevich today embarked on a three-day tour of Illinois to promote the new I-SaveRx prescription drug importation program— the first program in the nation to allow citizens to purchase lower cost, safe prescription drugs from Europe and Canada. The outreach effort will target senior citizens’ centers across the state to reach those most affected by the high cost of prescription drugs. The Governor crisscrossed the Chicago area today, stopping at Mather’s Cafe on the City’s northwest side, Bernardin Manor in Calumet City, the Chinese American Service League in Chinatown, and Casa Central in Humboldt Park.
The Governor will continue his statewide I-SaveRx promotion campaign on Wednesday and Thursday, with stops in Herrin, the Metro East, Rock Island, Rockford, Peoria, Springfield, Decatur, and Champaign. This campaign marks the beginning of an extended outreach effort that will continue throughout the next three months. The Illinois Department on Aging and the Department of Public Health will also circulate I-SaveRx information to physicians and senior citizens, and host informational sessions around the state.
Gov. Blagojevich launched the much-anticipated I-SaveRx program on Monday with Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle. The program will provide low-cost prescription medications for the 18 million residents of the two states, an estimated 4 million of whom do not have prescription drug coverage.
“Yesterday we began our program to help senior citizens – and anyone in Illinois – begin buying safe, affordable prescription drugs from countries like England, Scotland, Ireland and Canada,” said Governor Blagojevich. “Prescription drugs from Europe and Canada are typically 25 to 50 percent cheaper than they are here in the United States. For the average family, that could mean savings of hundreds, even thousands, of dollars each year. That’s why today, we're kicking off our campaign to get the word out to seniors that they don't have to pay these high prices anymore. Help is on the way.”
To get started, consumers can visit the I-SaveRx
website at www.I-SaveRx.net,
or call the toll-free hotline, 1-866-ISAVE33
. The I-SaveRx
clearinghouse provides users with lists of available medications, price comparisons, and enrollment forms and instructions.
To enroll in the plan, an individual must mail or fax a completed health profile form and signed prescription to the I-SaveRx clearinghouse. Once the clearinghouse has received the prescription and health profile form, it will conduct an initial scan for appropriateness using the same drug interaction software used in Illinois pharmacies. If the prescription passes the interaction test, it will then be turned over to a network physician in the country from which the medication will be dispensed, who will review and re-write the prescription for a local network pharmacy. The pharmacy will perform a final safety check to comply with local laws and regulations before dispensing the medication.
Only prescription refills are eligible for the program so patients and their doctors have had time to review for unanticipated side-effects or interactions. The list of available drugs is limited to those that have been approved by the FDA for use in the United States to treat chronic or long-term conditions, and that cannot spoil during the shipping process.
The medications dispensed through the I-SaveRx program come from network pharmacies that have been inspected and approved by the state. All the pharmacies have agreed to comply with Illinois pharmaceutical standards, and to only dispense drugs that are manufactured for use in Canada, Ireland or the U.K.
“So starting this very minute, you can buy the same prescription drugs you use today, but for a lot less money. I know the big drug companies especially don't like it. They make a lot of money off of senior citizens just like you. But I also know that overcharging senior citizens isn't right. I know that trying to scare and intimidate senior citizens isn't right. Just about everyone but the FDA and the big drug companies know that,” the Governor said. “And that's why we're going to keep doing what we're doing, and it's why we're going to help you and senior citizens all across this state sign up for our program and start saving money on the high cost of your prescription drugs.”