By STEVE JONES Staff writer

City Hall will seek proposals from pharmacy benefit managers to administer the city’s prescription drug program, with the result likely to include a bump in the cost of those drugs to employees that will save the city over $140,000.

The Board of Estimate and Contract Thursday approved a $3,000 contract with First Niagara to create the Request for Proposals to solicit pharmacy benefit managers. First Niagara would also analyze vendor responses.

The city has two health insurance programs, though its pharmacy program applies to all employees.

Treasurer David C. Nolan, sponsor of the legislation and member of the board, said Thursday that doctors are writing prescriptions for generic drugs about 69 percent of time, but that the rate for most groups the size of the city is closer to 75 percent.

Nolan noted that each percentage point it is increased saves the city about $24,000. Thus, a 6 percent increase could save the city about $144,000. A pharmacy benefit manager, he said, can influence that percentage.

It could take a few years before an increase could be completely phased it, Nolan said, but it could save far more than the initial $3,000 to be spent on the First Niagara contract.