OKLAHOMA CITY - A new agreement will give Oklahoma pharmacies the same competitive edge as out-of-state mail order ones, according to a release by the Oklahoma House of Representatives media division.

The agreement will affect state and education employees and will replace a mail-order prescription program criticized because it would have driven down use of local pharmacy businesses.

"The mail-order program was designed to save money for both the state and those state and education employees that opted to get their prescriptions through it," state Representative John Enns (R-Enid) said.

"The problem was that the mail-order program got prescriptions from out-of-state and therefore gave out-of-state pharmacies an unfair advantage over Oklahoma pharmacies. This new plan is estimated to yield even greater savings, but is fair to local pharmacists."

The new plan is estimated to save approximately $33 million in the first year alone, according to lawmakers.

Most of the savings will be realized by plan members in the form of lower out-of-pocket costs when purchasing prescriptions. More than 34,000 Medicare supplement plan members, who were not impacted by the original plan design adopted last August, will also save money when purchasing prescriptions.