County Makes Free Prescription Drug Discount Card Available to All Residents

Dec. 6, 2011

Residents may be able to cut their prescription drug costs by almost half on average, thanks to a new, free discount card offered by Fairfax County through a partnership. This card will help the estimated 144,000-plus residents without health insurance, although it may offer savings to the insured too.

 prescription drugs imageThe county is making the card available because the number of uninsured has spiked in recent years. Their ranks have grown by 27 percent between 2009 and 2010, according to U.S. Census estimates. The latest figures show that 13.5 percent of residents lacked insurance last year.

There are several ways to get a Fairfax County Prescription Drug Discount Card:

  • Print a card at
  • Get a card at any participating pharmacy; supplies will be limited.
  • Look in the mail. In the next two weeks, they will be mailed to homes in areas with the highest concentration of uninsured residents.

On average, the card cuts the cost of a prescription by 45 percent, depending on the drug and amount bought. For brand-name drugs, discounts are estimated to be 10 to 20 percent, and 20 to 70 percent for generics. Based on use countywide, officials expect the card will produce a total savings of $280,000 per month.

Studies have shown that lack of insurance, economic hardship and drug costs cause many to forgo the medicines they need. This fall a nationwide survey by Consumer Reports found that 35 percent of people with low-incomes are skimping on their medicines, with:

  • 16 percent not filling a prescription
  • 13 percent taking an expired medicine
  • 12 percent skipping a dose
  • 8 percent splitting pills in half
  • 4 percent sharing a prescription with someone else

 Besides the uninsured, the discount card also may help insured residents anytime they must pay full price for a prescription because their plan doesn’t cover a drug. The card cannot be used to reduce the cost of co-pays, co-insurance or deductibles.

Discounts are available for some pet medicines too. However, the drugs must be human medicines that can be taken by animals, and the prescription must be filled at a pharmacy, not a veterinarian’s office.

Almost every pharmacy in the county accepts the card, plus 62,000 others across the nation. No enrollment or registration is needed to use it, and one card can be used for multiple people. To get discounts, just present the card at the pharmacy when buying medicine.

 No personal or health information is collected when the card is used, and an individual’s drug purchases are completely confidential. However, pharmacies will report the total types and amounts of drugs sold by discount in order for the county to track the total savings generated.

Fairfax County is offering the discount card through a partnership with ProAct, a pharmacy benefit management company. For information or help, call ProAct’s help desk toll-free at 1-877-776-2285, TTY 711.

Help is available 24/7, and ProAct’s customer service staff can answer questions in many languages. Visit to print a card, get more information, or find participating pharmacies.

For members of the media who need more information, contact the Fairfax County Office of Public Affairs at 703-324-3187, TTY 711.

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