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Altoona residents receive access to prescription discounts

Altoona Mayor Matt Pacifico announced Thursday that all city residents now have access to free prescription discount cards to help families save on medical costs. (MGN)

ALTOONA -- Mayor Matt Pacifico announced Thursday that all city residents now have access to free prescription discount cards to help families save on medical costs.

Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data shows prescription costs are a challenge for many Americans.

According to a 2013 CDC study, about one fifth of the $263 billion spent on retail prescription drugs in the United States in 2012 was paid out of pocket.

The national discount program that has now made its way to Altoona aims to off-set these medical costs.

Altoona is a member of the National League of Cities (NLC), a group that advocates and provides resources for 19,000 cities and municipalities nationwide, according to the League's website.

Each League member has the choice to participate in a program called My Healthy Hometown, which gives residents a discount on prescriptions not covered by insurance, even on medications for pets.

"We have an aging population here in the city and with the cost of healthcare continuing to rise and people living on fixed incomes this was something the city was able to take advantage of," Pacifico said.

The program claims to save users an average of 24 percent on prescriptions, and is accessible with no cost, fees or qualifications.

The discount was created through a partnership between the NLC and CVS Caremark, but it is not limited to just CVS pharmacies.

"Almost every pharmacy, about 68,000 nationally, participates in the NLC prescription discount program, so certainly, you can use your prescription discount card at a CVS pharmacy, but also at almost all other pharmacies in the area," NLC representative Stephanie Osborn said.

Pacifico and Osborn, who traveled from Washington, D.C. for the announcement, unveiled the program at the Altoona Curve game Thursday night, and began to hand out the free cards. Starting Friday, the cards will now also be available throughout the city.

"The cards will be available here at City Hall in the office of the mayor, at the Altoona public library, at Blair Senior Services and at the Blair County Community Action," Pacifico said.

Osborn said ten other cities in the state already participate in the program, including State College.

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