Combatting the cost of prescription drugs

SILVERDALE — Individuals who need a financial boost with health coverage have at least one option: the FamilyWize prescription drug discount card, currently being distributed free by United Way of Kitsap County.

According to United Way, the card lowers costs of medicine by an average of 35 percent and can be used by people of all ages and incomes.

“Health care costs are one of the top concerns for people in our community,” United Way of Kitsap County Executive Director David Foote said. “Forty percent of adults don’t buy the medicine they need, have difficulty affording it or reduce the required dosage because of the high cost.”

The prescription drug discount card is accepted at Albertsons, Costco, Fred Meyer, Longs, Rite Aid, Safeway, Target, Walgreens and Wal-Mart, as well as local pharmacies including the Apothecary Shoppe, Farrell’s, Medicine Shop, Paul’s, South Park and Vern’s Pharmacy.

“The FamilyWize prescription drug discount cards will help individuals and families who otherwise could not afford to buy the medicine they need,” Foote said. “Too many people have insufficient coverage, no prescription coverage or need medications not covered by their insurance, Medicare, Medicaid or VA benefits.”

When Dan and Susan Barnes donated a supply of free prescription drug discount cards to family centers in Pennsylvania in 2005, the partnership between FamilyWize, United Way and a slew of partner agencies blossomed.

The FamilyWize Community Service Partnership then launched, attracting more than 25,000 community and faith-based organizations, county and municipal agencies, doctors, pharmacies, public and private companies and individuals across the country. More than 675 United Way agencies currently distribute the FamilyWize card.

“It’s truly amazing what we can accomplish when we all work together,” Foote said. “So many people and organizations have joined together to make this possible.”

More than 53,000 participating pharmacies have agreed to accept prices for medications close to the prices they offer large insurance agencies, saving money and consequently allowing the FamilyWize card to be distributed for free, according to United Way.

United Way of Kitsap County has distributed the card since March 2007, helping participants save an average of 38 percent per prescription. More than 10 million cards have been doled out by about 700 United Ways nationwide, accounting for an estimated $30 million in savings next year alone.

“We hope everyone in the community will take the time to thank their pharmacist, United Way of Kitsap County and everyone else involved for the difference they are making in the lives of so many people in the community,” said Dan Barnes, co-chair of the FamilyWize Community Service Partnership.

FamilyWize cards can be obtained by calling United Way of Kitsap County at (360) 377-8505. More information is available online at

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