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Overview of the New York State program for prescription drug benefits.

New York State's prescription drug benefits program is described. The Empire Plan, a part of the New York State Health Insurance Program, includes a prescription drug benefits program. The prescription drug program began in 1986 and covers more than 700,000 people. In 1988 the state started a therapeutic drug-use-evaluation (DUE) program in correct with the supplier, Health Information Designs, a subsidiary of ValueRx Pharmacy Program. In 1991 the partnership with ValueRx was expanded to include patient profilling and physician education. In 1993 the state implemented a prior-authorization program for certain high-technology drugs, also administered by ValueRx. New York's public work force is heavily unionized, and the unions have been deeply involved in program design and vendor selection. Program participants have access to a large network of community pharmacies. The program also provides mail-order service. Quality is at the center of the state's and the unions' prescription drug program philosophy. Saving money is also a major objective; savings totaling $19.5 million were realized from 1988 through 1993 under the partnership between the state and ValueRx. The Empire Plan's prescription drug benefits program is building quality and saving money by integrating DUE, prior authorization, education, community pharmacy, and mail-order service.[1]


  1. Overview of the New York State program for prescription drug benefits. Lennard, E.L., Feinberg, P.E. American journal of hospital pharmacy. (1994) [Pubmed]
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