More than 85,000 Oklahomans have downloaded the free Oklahoma Drug Card since it was introduced Jan. 8—an unprecedented number compared to 22 other states that have introduced the program, the director of Oklahoma's drug card program said Friday.

"I think that just tells us the need is great in Oklahoma," Joe Willard said.

Oklahoma's response to the new card tops California's version of the program, which has only 55,000 card-holders since its launch in October.

"The greater participation in this program, the greater the benefit to the residents of Oklahoma," Willard said.

The number of participating pharmacies also has tripled to 700 in the state since the card program was launched.

"It's tough when you get a prescription and it's $122 or $79," Willard said. "I'm just so excited because I know the card is making a difference in people's lives."

The Oklahoma Drug Card is not affiliated with the state government.

It was initiated by United Networks of America, based in Baton Rouge, La. UNA is a provider of numerous managed health care products.

Any Oklahoma resident may sign up for the card online and print it off for instant prescription savings at participating pharmacies across the state.

The highest discounts are on pain medications, heart medications and antidepressants, Willard said.

The card is free. There is no age limit, no forms to complete and no income restrictions, Willard said.

The only piece of personal information residents need to provide is their name.

Although the form asks for an e-mail address, residents may type "none" and still get the card, he said.

Kmart pharmacies have agreed to print out cards for Oklahoma customers without Internet access.

People also may ask a participating pharmacy or a friend or family member to print the card out for them.

Users also may laminate the card, Willard said.

The card is expected to save its users up to 75 percent of costs on some medications and 35 percent in costs on average, he said.

Most prescription medications are covered by the program.

The program's Web site will help users find participating pharmacies and show the discount amount for specific drugs, Willard said.

To get the card or to find out more information about medications covered and what the discounts will be, go online to www.tulsaworld.com/drugcard.