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Aetna Expands Efforts to Educate Members With Information on PPIs and Coupons for Prilosec OTC

HARTFORD, Conn., Oct. 7 -- As part of a long-standing commitment to educating its members and helping them maximize available benefits, Aetna will provide approximately 100,000 pharmacy members with educational information about over-the-counter (OTC) proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs), as well as a $10 coupon for Prilosec OTC. At a retail price of approximately $0.70 per pill, in most cases the coupon will cover the entire cost of a 14-day supply, and provide a 50 percent savings off a 28-day supply.

"The FDA's recent decision to move 20mg Prilosec to over-the-counter status provides consumers with an effective, convenient and more affordable option for the treatment of frequent heartburn," said Eric Elliott, head of Aetna Pharmacy Management. "Aetna is constantly working to educate our members on pharmacy issues, while providing them with the tools and resources that help them get the most value from their pharmacy benefits. The distribution of educational materials and coupons complements our on-going efforts."

The educational information and value-added coupons will be mailed to Aetna HMO-based, PPO-based and traditional plan members who have a history of using proton-pump inhibitors. The mailing is expected to be completed in late October.

According to the American College of Gastroenterology, more than 40 percent of Americans experience heartburn at least once a month, and 15 million experience heartburn daily. Proton-pump inhibitors work to reduce the amount of acid produced in the stomach to relieve symptoms of dyspepsia (a general term for upper abdominal pain and indigestion), gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD (in which acid contents of the stomach reflux back into the esophagus causing heartburn) and peptic ulcers. More information about heartburn and PPIs is available at Aetna InteliHealth (http://www.aetnaintelihealth.com/).

This mailing is being funded by Procter & Gamble, manufacturer of Prilosec OTC. No member specific information will be provided to Procter & Gamble in connection with this program.

Aetna is one of the nation's leading providers of health care, dental, pharmacy, group life, disability and long-term care products, serving more than 13.0 million medical members, 11.3 million dental members, 11.7 million group insurance customers, and 7.4 million pharmacy members, as of June 30, 2003. The company has expansive nationwide networks of more than 579,000 health care services providers, including nearly 349,000 primary care and specialist physicians, 3,589 hospitals and 51,000 participating pharmacies. For more information about Aetna Inc., please visit the company's web site at http://www.aetna.com/.

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