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Augusta Prescriptions 

The most recent figures show Mainers spent more than $800 million dollars for prescription drugs in just one year.Thursday, Augusta’s mayor rolled out a new program that’s giving people a discount on their meds, for free.One in four Mainers under the age of 65 were without health insurance in 2007 and 2008 according to a report released last month.Louanne Manter is one of those people.She runs her own business in downtown Augusta, and was the first person to receive a prescription discount card from the city.”You don’t have to pay or be a member to get the card, you just have to be a resident of Augusta, and that’s pretty cool.” Augusta is the first place in Maine to take part in the program that will save customers on average about 20% per prescription.The card can be used on meds that are not covered by insurance.All major pharmacy chains are taking part, and if you’re wondering what the catch is, mayor Roger Katz says there isn’t one. “There is no catch. The city is paying nothing for this program. It doesn’t cost individuals anything at all.” If you have insurance already, Katz says it’s worth having a card just in case.”There are many prescription drugs not covered, so this card will still apply. Also, it’s going to apply to a lot of folks pets.” Yes, some pet prescriptions are covered too. Nearly 200 cities across the U.S. have signed up.”We launched this in November with four pilot cities.”CVS Caremark representative Brad Stone says pharmacies will be absorbing the costs in exchange for getting more people through their doors. “While people do purchase a prescription, they’re likely to purchase some over the counter products as well.” Monthly reports are sent to each participating city showing how many residents use the card and how much they saved.Manter says any savings these days.”Is a good thing.” If you’re an Augusta resident, you can pick up the card at one of three locations.City Hall, the Lithgow Library or the Buker Center.For more information on the program, log onto www.caremark.com/nlc.