How to get medication without health insurance

Here's some good news for the millions of underinsured or uninsured Americans who lack access to the medications they need. You can get reduced-cost or even free drugs through hundreds of patient assistance programs.

America's pharmaceutical companies have a long tradition of providing prescription drugs free of charge to patients who might otherwise not have access to the medicines they need. Recently, a new interactive Web site, has been launched that provides a comprehensive one-stop link to more than 325 patient assistance programs offering more than 1,400 medications.

In 2002, programs supported by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) and its member companies helped 5.5 million Americans get more than 14 million prescriptions-more than twice as many patients as the previous year. These programs are particularly important to America's millions of low-income seniors, working poor and people with disabilities.

Of course, patient assistance programs, while essential, are no substitute for expanded public access to affordable life-saving medicines. Many Americans would agree that adequate health care is not a luxury-it is a necessity. Inadequate health care, including access to prescription drugs that help and heal, is a chronic and growing problem for which we as a nation must find meaningful solutions. As layoffs and state fiscal cutbacks erode drug coverage for an increasing number of people, more and more people will be left unable to afford the medications they need. That's why PhRMA strongly supports measures such as prescription drug benefits for Medicare recipients, while remaining committed to these programs and other ways of improving everyone's access to needed pharmaceuticals.

For more information on efforts to improve healthcare for everyone, go to To learn about the patient assistance programs, or to find out if your family is eligible, go to

Millions of Americans lack access to the medications they need.

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