Slow Sign-up Doesn't Deter Arkansas Rx Plan

JANUARY 4, 2007- Posted at 7:45 a.m. CST

LITTLE ROCK (AP) - Arkansas Medicaid officials hope to meet with drug company officials to negotiate lower prices for prescriptions as the next step in rolling out the Arkansas Rx discount drug plan.

The state spent $400,000 in promoting the plan, for which 400,000 Arkansas residents are eligible. Only 2,200 people pre-enrolled in the plan. The state Medicaid director says he expects about 20,000 people to eventually participate.

The object of the plan is to present a buying group that will command discounts from drug manufacturers for state residents who have no prescription coverage.

State Health and Human Services Department spokesman Julie Munsell says officials are considering whether to join other states in negotiating for lower drug prices because of the low number of people who signed up during the pre-enrollment period.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)