OLYMPIA - A Washington Drug Card is now available to all Washington residents "on the fly." The program, which is free to all Washingtonians and provides savings of up to 75 percent on prescription drugs, can now be accessed by simply visiting any Safeway pharmacy location in Washington. In the past residents were required to obtain and present a member card in order to receive prescription discounts through the program.

"This presented a problem as many uninsured and underinsured residents were not getting access to the program and this will solve that problem," said Eric Brown, development director for the Washington Drug Card.

As a result of their commitment to the Washington Drug Card, Safeway has been named the preferred pharmacy for the statewide program.

"We are very pleased to have been selected as the preferred pharmacy for the Washington Drug Card Program. Safeway is committed to promoting health and wellness for all the people of Washington, and we believe the Washington Drug Card Program will help us achieve this goal," said Lee Worthy, Safeway Pharmacy's Washington district manager.

Every resident of Washington is eligible to receive discounts through the Washington Drug Card program. There are no restrictions to membership, no income restrictions, no age limit and no applications to fill out. Washington Drug Card is accepted at over 50,000 national and regional pharmacies around the country. Washingtonians can download a "free" card by visiting www.washingtondrugcard.com. Anyone not able to access the Web site, or otherwise obtain a member card, can visit any Safeway Pharmacy location in Washington.

The Washington Drug Card Program was launched to help the uninsured and underinsured citizens of Washington afford their prescription medications. However, the program can also be used by people who have health insurance coverage with no prescription benefits, which is common in many health savings accounts and high deductible health plans. Additionally, people who have prescription coverage can use this program for non-formulary or non-covered drugs. The Washington Drug Card can also be used by individuals who do not qualify for publicly funded programs such as Medicaid and Medicare. It can also be used by people who receive their medicines through charity care providers such as 340B, a federally funded program that grants discounts to providers, and require a drug that is not available to them. This program even covers some pet medications.

You can search for drug pricing and participating pharmacies at (www.washingtondrugcard.com). The card is pre-activated and can be used at any participating pharmacy. Most major pharmacies, as well as thousands of independent pharmacies, accept the card.

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