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Joe Kennedy’s Prescription for Drug Costs

The Cape Codder Editorial Page His legacy may be political, but former congressman Joe Kennedy, who grew up with senators and presidents, knows when to push politics out of the way. He did just that last week when he walked away from politically-sponsored prescription drug plans which are going nowhere because of Statehouse bickering and shrinking revenues. Instead, Kennedy announced plans for a privately-funded Citizens Health Corp. discount drug card. The concept is simple. Citizens Health Corp. will buy prescription medicines in bulk, at a reduced price, and sell the medication to club members at that reduced price. Club members will pay a yearly fee of $12 for individuals, and $28 for families. Kennedy is no stranger to buying in bulk. The Citizens Energy Corporation, which he’s been directing for several years, keeps low-income families warm during a New England winter with oil purchased at reduced prices because it’s bought directly from distributors. There is no middle man. He’ll do the same with prescription drugs, and has forged an agreement with Bristol-Myers Squibb Company and GlaxoSmithKline for even deeper discounts to be passed down to club members. So while Democrats and Republicans in Boston and Washington continue to bicker over which prescription drug plan will do the most good to their constituents, Joe Kennedy is bypassing it all. The plan was formally announced last week, and further information is a phone call or mouse click away. The Web site for Citizens Energy Corporation offers a link to Citizens Health, which provides all the information residents of Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut need to start saving money immediately on their prescription drugs. To join, residents may call 1-800-563-5479 or write to: Citizens Health, C/O Express Scripts, 6625 W 78th Street, P.O. Box 390004, Bloomington, MN 55439-9679. Kennedy’s club is not the only answer to the rising costs of prescription drugs in this country, but it does take a step toward bringing those costs under control.

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