In the world of prescription drug discount programs, Texas has a new partner on the block. The Texas Rx Card Program, which provides discounts on prescription drugs, began a push to register participants this week.

The card is free, has no registration requirements and provides savings up to 75 percent on prescription drugs. The program has saved more than $100 million for consumers in more than 20 other states, program director Reed Dickens said. The card is the latest in a growing number of such programs. Other pharmacies, hospitals and organizations offer discounts to customers to increase business. Most programs provide discounts offered by pharmacies or pharmaceutical companies in an effort to spur pharmacy visits in the face of rising drug costs.

"I don't think it's much different from other types of stores offering other discounts," Dickens said. To register for the Texas Rx Card Program, visit www.TexasRxCard.com. Provide basic information, print the given form and take it to participating pharmacies for the discounts.

"Most major pharmacies and almost all drugs are covered on this program," Dickens said. Savings average 30 percent, Dickens said. "It also covers some pet medication," he said. The Web site shows participating pharmacies, which includes many independents.

Wal-Mart pharmacies aren't included in the program. However, Wal-Mart and Sam's Club pharmacies provide a 30-day supply of more than 350 generic medications for $4. The retail giant will provide a 90-day supply for $10. Northwest Texas Healthcare System began a program in November 2006 that intends to help the uninsured or those without prescription drug benefits. The hospital works with Health Plan Partners and registers patients to the program, which has no monthly cost and no eligibility requirements. Savings are about 45 percent per prescription. The hospital has registered more than 16,000. One of the largest discount programs is the Partnership for Prescription Assistance, which boosts talk show host Montel Williams as its national spokesman.

Through its Web site, www.pparx.org, consumers can access more than 475 assistance programs.