A new state contract with CVS Caremark for employee pharmacy benefits is expected to save the state $12.6 million in the first year, the New Mexico General Services Department reported.

The four-year CVS Caremark contract goes into effect July 1 and replaces Express Scripts.

The savings are due to lower pharmaceutical costs, increased rebates from drugmakers, decreased dispensing fees and other measures, General Services Secretary John Garcia said in a news release.

There will be no changes in premiums for the group benefits health plan as a result of the pharmaceutical contract savings, department spokesman Thom Cole said.

The General Services Department's group health plan covers about 36,400 state employees and family members and nearly 22,000 local government and small-business employees and their families.

The $12.6 million savings is on a pharmacy benefit purchase for $87.1 million in the first year, the department reported.

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