On Your Side Alert: Discount Rx card questions

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A pharmacy discount card is showing up in Central Virginia mail boxes. It offers huge savings at drug stores -- but many of you wanted to know if you should you use it.

Viewers have emailed our newsroom about receiving the offer. It sounds like a good deal. The card is free and claims you can save up to 75 percent off your medicine. But experts say one of the biggest concerns is consumer privacy.

Dr. Sarah Gaffney, is a Pharmacist with Chippenham and Johnston Willis hospitals says, she has  received that offer and red flags went up.

"On their actual privacy policy it says they do not follow HIPAA laws that the medical community is mandated to follow. So I would be very cautious in using this," she said.

We also took a closer look at that privacy policy and there are some things you should be aware of.

For example, while the National Prescription Assistance Network -- the company behind the offers -- says it does not sell or rent your information, it does admit to collecting and tracking information about you. Also, you should know the company says its merchant and third party partners may collect information from you.

We had some questions, so we reached out to the company sending the offers. On the phone, a representative says, when it comes to media inquires -- they would have to take a message and pass it to the appropriate manager. We are still waiting to hear a back from someone.

We checked with the BBB and discovered National Prescription Assistance Network has complaints that range from Advertising issues to Problems with products and services. The company has an "F" rating.

The BBB says National Prescription Assistance Network goes by at least 20 other different names.

The company claims the card can be used at several participating pharmacies including Walmart and Walgreens. We checked and Walgreens confirms it accepts the card.

We checked with Walmart but the company didn't reply in time for our story.

Experts say before you consider using the card, keep in mind there are other options.

"A lot of pharmacies offer a slew of medications on a $4 list. That world be a more prudent and inexpensive way to go and the patients personal information would be protected," said Dr. Gaffney.

As with any unsolicited offer -- before you sign up and give out your information make sure you fully understand what you are signing up for. That includes reading all the small print.

The BBB also says consumers should be aware that the card is not insurance. If you plan to use the cards, it says compare prices of medications.

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