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WASHINGTON - Beginning March 1, pharmaceutical giant Pfizer will offer low-income senior citizens some of its most widely used prescriptions for $15 each a month, The Associated Press reports. CVS and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. have agreed to participate in the program.
The program is expected to reach as many as seven million eligible elderly Americans, who will have access to drugs like Viagra and the cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor, two of the company's most popular.
To qualify, seniors must be enrolled in Medicare and have an annual gross income below $18,000, or less than $24,000 for couples. Recipients can have no other prescription drug coverage.
There is no enrollment fee and no limit on the number of drugs a patient can receive. Applicants must provide proof of their income, such as the first page of a tax return.
Hank McKinnell, Pfizer Inc. chairman and CEO, said the company acted after congressional efforts to pass a prescription drug benefit for seniors were delayed because of the September terrorist attacks. Pfizer intends for the program to be temporary until Congress passes a benefit program.
Other drug companies, like GlaxoSmithKline and Novartis, have discount drug cards but many of those charge seniors a modest fee, usually $12 to $25 per year, in exchange for a discount, the AP reports.