INDIANAPOLIS (AP) _ A new Web site run by pharmaceutical companies can direct Indiana residents to prescription drug programs that offer free or discounted medications _ a safer alternative to importing drugs from other countries, Gov. Mitch Daniels said Tuesday.

The Web site, rxforindiana.org, asks patients for information on age, income level and insurance to determine whether they are eligible for discounts or free medicine from drug companies. Patients and doctors can fill out enrollment forms online and send them electronically to the programs. A toll-free number is available for those without Internet access: 877-793-0765.

Several states have programs to import cheaper prescription drugs from Europe and Canada. But Daniels, who was a top executive for pharmaceutical maker Eli Lilly and Co. during the 1990s, said that is risky. He said in some places counterfeit drugs and medication past its expiration date are a problem.

``We just can't take the change that a single Hoosier is hurt by that,'' Daniels said.

Daniels said the Web site, run by a group of pharmaceutical companies and health organizations, can help slash prices for low-income residents.

``This can be a lifesaving difference,'' Daniels said.

Jean Jackson and her husband, who are both on several prescription medications and appeared at a news conference with Daniels to announce the Web site, said their costs dropped dramatically with the discounts, from $100 or $200 a month for some drugs to about $12.50 a month for the same medication.

``It was a tremendous savings for us,'' Jackson said.

___

On the Net:

www.rxforindiana.org