Pfizer introduces $15 'Share Card'

March 1, 2002

Pharmaceutical Representative

Pfizer Inc. has announced that they will launch the Pfizer Share Card, a program that will enable Medicare recipients to buy a 30-day supply of any Pfizer prescription medicine they need for a flat fee of $15.

Seven million Medicare-enrolled Americans will now have another way to save on prescription medication. New York-based Pfizer Inc. has announced that the company's health information and resource center, Pfizer for Living, will launch the Pfizer Share Card, a program that will enable Medicare recipients to buy a 30-day supply of any Pfizer prescription medicine they need for a flat fee of $15.

"In communities across America, there are simply too many older Americans who are facing serious illness without the resources and help they need and deserve," said Pfizer Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Hank McKinnell. "After the tragic events of September 11, our government has focused appropriately on national security and the war on terrorism. As a consequence, the momentum behind modernizing Medicare for the 21st century has slowed. Until the administration, Congress and the states design an appropriate, high-quality, long-term solution for America's seniors, we are bridging the gap now for those most in need, building on our work over the last 20 years."

To qualify for the program, individual Medicare recipients - including people with disabilities who are Medicare-enrolled - must have an annual gross income below $18,000 ($24,000 for couples who file joint tax returns), and have no other prescription coverage.

"By leveraging the existing platform of Pfizer for Living, we'll be able to reach many of the Americans who can least afford even basic medical care," said Karen Katen, executive vice president of Pfizer and president of Pfizer's global pharmaceutical business. "To address health problems faced by these Americans, we've provided not only a $15 benefit card but also trained counselors on our help line who will guide seniors to existing private, federal and state programs for which they may be eligible."

The program will also extend to some medicines that Pfizer co-promotes with other companies, including Smyrna, GA-based UCB Pharma Inc.'s Zyrtec® (cetirizine HCl), a second-generation antihistamine, and Tokyo-based Eisai Co.'s Aricept® (donepezil HCl), a treatment for the dementia of mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease.

Praise for the program

The Share Card program has been praised by members of Congress from both political parties, as well as many healthcare and senior citizen organizations.

"Pfizer should be commended for launching this important new program, one that will help low-income Americans better afford prescription drugs," said Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson. "By providing low-income Medicare recipients with access to prescription drugs for a flat fee, Pfizer is showing outstanding leadership and providing critical help to some of our seniors who need it most."

Though the Washington-based AARP was among the groups praising the program, AARP Chief Executive Officer William Novelli said the Share Card is not a substitute for a Medicare prescription drug program.

"By introducing this prescription drug reduced-cost program, Pfizer is helping to address a part of the huge, unmet need for affordable prescription drugs," he said. "However, it is important to note that neither the Pfizer program nor other company-sponsored or discount cards or plans are substitutes for affordable prescription drug coverage in Medicare. The burden of soaring drug costs is felt by all people on Medicare, not just those with the greatest needs." PR

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