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In The Media

 

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Programs make Prescription Drugs Available Free

Washington Times, Washington D.C.

March 27, 2003

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.

The Free 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 their constitutes.

For more information or to apply, visit www.freemedicineprogram.org

Volunteers Help Deliver Free Medicine


07/21/04

City Shopper, Boston, MA

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 Canada. 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 and time-consuming.

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 three weeks. There’s a one-time processing fee of five dollars, which is refunded to anyone who can’t get medicines for less through the program.

You can apply for help and learn more about the program online by visiting the Web site at www. freemedicineprogram.org

 

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