Low income patient access to medications online

If you're concerned about your family's medical expenses, here's some good news. A new program is giving low-income and uninsured people access to information on getting hundreds of medications you need.

Last year, patient assistance programs provided $1.5 billion worth of prescription medications to five million Americans, including senior citizens whose only medical insurance is Medicare, which does not cover prescription drugs.

The pharmaceutical industry has a long tradition of providing prescription medicines free of charge to patients who might not otherwise be able to afford them.

Recently, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) launched www.helpingpatients.org, a new interactive Web site that provides a comprehensive one-stop link to more than 1400 medicines offered through more than 140 industry and 185 government and privately sponsored patient assistance programs. The Web site enables patients to fill out an online form and receive a listing of programs for which they may be qualified. PhRMA also publishes a printed version of the Directory of Prescription Drug Patient Assistance Programs, which lists programs, the companies that offer them, available medicines, basic eligibility requirements and contact persons.

Industry patient assistance programs are considered indispensible for ensuring that the neediest patients have access to medicines, but they alone cannot solve the underlying problem of healthcare access, including availability of prescription drugs at all income levels. The industry will continue to work cooperatively with organizations and individuals who are seeking public and private sector solutions to chronic health system challenges.

For more information or to find out if your family is eligible for a patient assistance program, go to www.helpingpatients.org or www.phrma.org.

Pharmaceutical companies are committed to helping people get prescription drugs.

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