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make Prescription Drugs Available Free
Times, Washington D.C.
It has often said
that the best things in life are free and that expression
can even be applied to something that's usually associated
with a high price tag: prescription drugs.
As cost of prescription
medications continues to increase, often making them unaffordable
for people without insurance, the drug manufacturers themselves
are helping get their products to the people who need them
practically free of charge.
Many drug manufacturers
sponsor what's called "patient assistance programs".
These programs are intended to help those who otherwise
can't afford prescription drugs-including people who are
unemployed or lack health insurance, and seniors who don't
have prescription drug coverage under Medicare- obtain the
medications they need. In 2001 alone, patient assistance
programs helped 3.1 million Americans fill more than 10
million prescriptions - with estimated value of $1.5 Billion.
Most people, however,
including qualified doctors, nurses, social workers and
other health professionals - are not even aware that these
programs exist. Fortunately there is now a volunteer organization
dedicated to pointing people in the right direction.
Medicine Program cuts though the red tape of
application process by helping people enroll in patient
assistance programs. It also helps simplify the rules, guidelines
and procedures, and helps expedite the submission process.
Once patients are approved, the free medication is generally
sent just two to three weeks.
Because of the
organization's groundbreaking work in this area, physicians
nationwide are currently distributing Free
Medicine Program brochures to their patients.
Even Social Security offices have brochures available to
For more information
or to apply, visit www.freemedicineprogram.org
Help Deliver Free Medicine
While the political
battle over affordable health care rages on, one group of
volunteers is showing people how to reduce—or even eliminate—their
prescription drug costs.
No, we’re not talking about the new Medicare program, which
has got at least some seniors scratching their heads trying
to figure out how much they’d save by signing up for discount
prescription drug cards. Nor are we even talking about controversial
efforts—including those by some governors and members of Congress—to
circumvent the current ban on importing cheaper drugs from
Instead, we’re talking about a group that helps people take
advantage of patient assistance programs that already provide
free prescription medicines to more than 6.2 million Americans,
according to the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers
of America, which represents the country’s leading pharmaceutical
research and biotechnology companies. Millions more could
benefit from these programs—but don’t even know it.
That’s one reason for the Free Medicine Program, as it’s called.
Not only does it help people decide which private or pharmaceutical
company program would be best for them, but it also aids in
dealing with the ever-changing requirements and often daunting
application process needed to qualify for these programs.
That process alone can ordinarily be extremely tedious, confusing
To help its members, the program processes their information
and sends them customized packages, prepared specifically
to meet their individual needs. The members get a letter for
their physicians (the assistance of a doctor has significant
bearing on acceptance in the program) and information on the
application process. The completed papers are sent to the
appropriate drug manufacturers for approval. Once a member
is approved, the free medicines generally arrive in two to
There’s a one-time processing fee of five dollars, which is
refunded to anyone who can’t get medicines for less through
You can apply for
help and learn more about the program online by visiting
the Web site at www. freemedicineprogram.org