Have you ever seen a TV ad for a prescription that concluded with “If you can’t afford your prescription medicine, Astra-Zeneca (or Pfizer or AbbVie) may be able to help you” and wondered what that meant? If you have commercial health insurance, that might mean a discount card to lower your co-pay to something more affordable. For patients, without health insurance, it could mean a free or discounted prescription, if you know how to access the Patient Assistance Programs sponsored by many pharmaceutical companies.
Many pharmaceutical companies have created Patient Assistance Programs, or PAPs, to provide select brand-name prescriptions at no cost to those patients that meet their financial and insurance criteria. The programs rely on healthcare providers or their staff to submit patient health and financial information, sometimes as often as every 90 days, so patients can receive life-saving prescriptions at no cost to them. Each specific program has its own set of eligibility rules which the patient must meet to be considered for free medications. While a few PAP medications are sent directly to the patient’s home, most are sent to their healthcare provider.
“We have a number of patients that contact us directly from the hospital or have not seen a doctor for many years”, said Nancy Caralla, Executive Director, C Diff Foundation. “By the time they contact us, they tend to have multiple conditions, some advanced, requiring some of the newer and more advanced therapies. Fortunately, those therapies are the ones that are usually available through Patient Assistance Programs.”
Through the affordable pharmaceutical lists provided by Walmart Pharmacy and the GoodRx App. we have also been successful in assisting patients with generic medication information or assistance program availability.
“None of us can do this alone ~ All of us can do this together.”