BANGOR (AP) – Elderly and disabled Mainers who have been receiving prescription drug benefits through a state program are finding out they are no longer covered.

Mainers enrolled in the Low Cost Drugs for the Elderly and Disabled program are seeing costs for some medications rise sharply as a result.

The state Human Services Department, which administers the program, said the rejections come as no surprise. Spokesman Newell Augur said they are a result of the demise of the Healthy Maine Prescription program late last year.

In December, a federal appeals court rejected a Medicaid waiver that made the 2-year-old prescription benefit program possible. Healthy Maine Prescription coverage had extended to those enrolled in Low Cost Drugs for the Elderly and Disabled.

Scores of drug companies have declined to participate in the latter program or have been unable to renegotiate drug purchasing deals with the state.

Affected medications include those used to treat heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, lung disease, multiple sclerosis and osteoporosis among other chronic conditions.

The state is continuing efforts to sign drug companies on to the Low Cost Drugs for the Elderly and Disabled program, Augur said. He added that Mainers who find their medications are no longer affordable should ask their doctor or pharmacist about alternative drugs that may work as well.

AP-ES-04-16-03 1021EDT



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