Pharmaceutical assistance on the rise, NCSL report shows
A growing number of states are providing state pharmaceutical assistance programs (SPAPs) to provide subsidies to individuals who do not have insurance coverage for prescription drugs and do not qualify for other government programs, according to a report from the Washington-based National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). More states also are offering discount programs that use the state’s bulk purchasing power to negotiate lower prices on drugs without spending state money.
SPAPs first appeared in 1975, and as of mid-2007 at least 42 states had established or authorized SPAPs or similar programs, according to NCSL, and more than half of those authorized SPAPs between 2000 and 2006. As of July 2007, there were 29 states with programs in operation. Several programs have been replaced by Medicare Part D plans.
Discount programs began to grow in 1999, and the NCSL report looks at 16 that are operational and 11 that are not operational. In most of the programs, a management firm is contracted to negotiate prices that the consumer then pays. In the last three years, the programs have emphasized providing discount programs for residents under 65 who do not qualify for Medicare or Part D benefits.
The NCSL report is available at www.ncsl.org.