Former Mayor Greg Lashutka unveiled a free prescription drug card program this week that he said will deliver additional savings to central Ohioans.

The program is aimed at helping people of any age deal with climbing health insurance premiums, 10TV's Tanisha Mallett reported.

From 2001 to 2005, healthcare premiums shot up more than $2,700 for Ohioans, Mallett reported.

The new program, called the Ohio Drug Card, allows users to sign up online and have printable membership cards e-mailed to them. The card can be used immediately.

Unlike other discount prescription cards, the program is open to anyone in the state - regardless of age, income, or insurance status, Mallett reported.

Program director Greg Lashutka said the Ohio Drug Card is a national program that can offer members deeper discounts.

"We are working with a couple of providers who are pharmaceutical purchasers and they are negotiating good prices at the best levels they can to pass along to customers around the entire country," Lashutka said. "Now, Ohio has it available through Ohio Drug Card."

According to the Ohio Drug Card Web site, the card can provide members with savings up to 75 percent at 50,000 national and regional pharmacies, including Walgreens, CVS and Meijer.

The Web site also said the card can be used at thousands of independent pharmacies.

While the card may appeal to people looking to save money on prescriptions, Scott Podolan, with County Line Pharmacy, said he and other independent pharmacists will lose out.

"Most discount cards nowadays don't pay any portion of the prescription," Podolan said. "They just give you a decent price on it which I feel a lot of independent pharmacies already offer."

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