Pfizer Reaffirms Superior Value of U Share Card and Other Medicare-Approved Drug Discount Cards for Medicare Beneficiaries Seeking Access to Affordable Medicines

Michigan patient Alice Jones: 'The transition to the U Share Card was very

easy. Actually, you can't see that there is any difference. I'm very happy

with my life right now.'

National Council on Aging: 'Pfizer continues to be an industry leader in

working with national and local non-profit groups to reach out to millions of

low-income Medicare beneficiaries'

Sep 01, 2004, 01:00 ET from Pfizer Inc

    NEW YORK, Sept. 1 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- In response to a New York
 Times story today on the Pfizer for Living Share Card, Pfizer issued the
 following statement:
     Pfizer reaffirms its commitment to making its medicines available for free
 or at a significant savings to Medicare beneficiaries and other patients in
 need. In particular, the company said the U Share Card provides superior value
 to Pfizer's recently discontinued Share Card program.
     The U Share Card provides superior benefits to those previously available
 through the Pfizer Share Card program. For example, not only does the U Share
 Card provide the same $15 flat fee on Pfizer medicines to those with incomes
 below 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level, it also enables all Medicare
 beneficiaries, regardless of income, to realize significant savings (between
 10 and 40 percent) on a broad range of other branded and generic prescription
 medicines, not just those provided by Pfizer.
     In addition, low-income U Share Card participants may also qualify for
 flat fee prices offered by other participating U Share Card manufacturers such
 as AstraZeneca, Eli Lilly, Janssen and Ortho-McNeil. These participants are
 also eligible for $1,200 of transitional assistance from the government over
 the next 18 months.
     "Pfizer has collaborated with United, as well as other pharmaceutical
 companies, to create a single card that provides one of the most comprehensive
 drug discount programs currently approved by the Centers for Medicare and
 Medicaid Services," said Pfizer Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Hank
 McKinnell. "It is very misleading for The New York Times to suggest that the
 transition of the Pfizer Share Card to Medicare-approved Discount Card
 Programs in anyway represents a reduction in benefits. Further, this kind of
 article creates unnecessary confusion that may potentially reduce enrollment
 in valuable prescription access programs."
     For more than three decades, Pfizer has offered innovative programs to
 help Americans in need afford Pfizer medicines. One of the most important of
 these programs, the Pfizer for Living Share Card, was introduced in January of
 2002 to provide low-income Medicare beneficiaries with access to Pfizer
 medicines for a flat fee of $15, through an easy-to-use 24-hour call center
 with live operators.
     As a result of Pfizer's comprehensive outreach during the past three
 years, the Pfizer Share Card has dispensed more prescriptions to Americans
 than any other individual company card program. The Pfizer for Living Share
 Card was designed to offer immediate relief until the enactment of the
 Medicare Modernization Act of 2003, which resulted in the creation of the
 Medicare drug discount card program earlier this summer. In support of the
 Medicare Modernization Act, Pfizer, in partnership with United Healthcare
 Insurance Company, led the creation of the Medicare-approved U Share
 Prescription Drug Discount Card ("U Share Card").  The U Share Card is
 sponsored and managed by United HealthCare Insurance Company.
     Recognizing that not all Medicare beneficiaries who are taking Pfizer
 medicines will participate in the U Share Card, Pfizer has also has made its
 $15 flat fee discount structure for Pfizer medicines available to
 beneficiaries eligible for transitional assistance on most other Medicare
 approved drug discount prescription discount cards.
     Dr. McKinnell said, "We understand that Americans need clear information
 to help them make informed choices. As a result, over the past five months,
 Pfizer has made twelve separate communications, including mailings and phone
 calls, to each of the more than 550,000 Pfizer for Living Share Card
 participants -- over 6.6 million communications in total -- informing them of
 the superior benefits of the Medicare drug discount card programs, including
 the U Share Card. In addition, Pfizer has partnered with more than 20,000
 community-based and health organizations to carefully communicate this
     "Pfizer also recognizes that there are other patient populations in need
 of assistance in obtaining Pfizer medicines. For this reason, we recently
 created Pfizer 'Helpful Answers', which includes a comprehensive initiative to
 expand access to prescription medicines to an estimated 43 million uninsured
 patients, which includes a website and 24-hour call center. We encourage any
 patients or caregiver to contact us at 866-706-2400 or to learn more about the program.
     "Despite the implications in the New York Times story, Pfizer is committed
 to continuing to provide the industry's most comprehensive range of access
 programs to tens of millions of Americans in need."
     Said James Firman, President and CEO of The National Council on the Aging,
 "Pfizer continues to be an industry leader in working with national and local
 non-profit groups to reach out to millions of low-income Medicare
 beneficiaries, to help them access all available prescription drug benefits as
 well as to provide extra assistance for those who need it most."

SOURCE Pfizer Inc