FRANKLIN - Franklin would be the second Tennessee city to officially endorse a statewide medication discount card that can be used in pharmacies by the insured and uninsured alike.

Launched in Tennessee in 2007, the Tennessee Drug Card is a free pharmacy discount card program that residents can use without paying any fees \or facing income or age requirements.

If aldermen approve the endorsement, Franklin officials would add the city's logo to its cards and make the cards available at City Hall, local pharmacies and elsewhere.

Harry Sayle, Tennessee Drug Card program director, estimates Tennessee residents have saved an estimated $18 million on prescriptions by using the card so far.

Now, drug card officials want local cities and municipalities to support the card so they can reach more people, including the elderly and people who might not have access to computers. The card can be downloaded from the Tennessee Drug Card website.

"It's more about the awareness of it," said Sayle. "We want as many access points for folks as possible."

Livingston, just north of Cookeville, is the only other city to officially endorse the card.

Created by United Networks of America, the Tennessee Drug Card is part of a national drug discount program begun with money from pharmacy chains and drug companies. Today, United Networks of America touts more than 114.9 million members using its programs. Last year, the company estimated they saved drug buyers an estimated $1.31 billion dollars.

The program does not sell any of the card users' information, Sayle said.

People who might have concerns about the card should think of it as being similar to a coupon, Sayle said. Participating pharmacies will get more customers in their stores who want to buy medication, and customers can get discounts on their medications.

"It's a very, very pro-consumer program," Sayle said.

UNA claims the cards create an average 32 percent savings on retail prices for brand and generic drug prescriptions though that might be less than what a discount program through an insurance provider might offer.

"Typically most insurance discounts are better than this, but in some cases this might be beneficial," said Franklin City Administrator Eric Stuckey.

In Tennessee, the state Municipal League is helping cities get information about the program, said Carole Graves, TML spokeswoman.

"It was originally launched to help the uninsured and underinsured," Graves said. "But even for those with insurance, it can be used by people who have health insurance coverage with no prescription benefits, which is common in many health savings accounts and high-deductible plans."

Franklin aldermen still must vote on whether to endorse the program.