Update: Financial Help with Prescription Medications

– Posted in: Medications

In these uncertain economic times, the number of people unable to afford their medications is getting higher and higher. 

Many fixed- and low-income people find it an increasingly difficult task to pay for the medications they need to stay healthy. In many cases, it’s a choice between medicine and other necessities, such as food and heat.

The post “Financial Help with Prescription Medications,” written on July 7, 2008, has received a thorough rewriting with important new information. Since it was originally written, I have found several very helpful online sites that give information and application help for low- or no-cost medication programs sponsored by the pharmaceutical companies. 

The post gives the details that you need to help you or a person you know to find programs that will help pay for medications. The topics discussed are:

  • Eligibility for prescription help
  • Online assistance with prescription medications from the pharmaceutical companies
  • Assistance with prescription medications from the pharmaceutical companies by telephone
  • Medicare Rx extra help
  • The State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP)
  • Samples from your doctor
  • Reducing the cost: Mail-order and online medications
  • Reducing the cost: Comparisons of pharmacy costs
8 comments… add one
Alec Satin December 10, 2008, 8:00 am

Hi Mike,

One of my most disturbing discoveries during my graduate psychotherapy training was realizing how many people on fixed or limited income halve their prescription medication to make it last longer.

I think countries like India which tightly control medication costs have the right idea.

Robert Johnson (founder of Johnson and Johnson) was a great leader because he believed that pharmaceutical companies were about helping people first, and profit second. It’s really a very capitalistic idea – though to our ears now it seems revolutionary.

Enjoy your posts.

Alec Satin’s last blog post..How To Track Your Job Search Contacts With Highrise

Mike December 10, 2008, 7:08 pm

Thanks for the comment, Alec!

Although we often vilify the pharmaceutical companies, they do help people with no- or low-cost drugs. However, with all the paperwork that has to be done, I wonder how many people take advantage of it?

One thing I left out was the help available through Medicare for people who can’t afford their drugs. I’m thinking that I might go back and add it in, just for the sake of completeness.

Johnson’s “revolutionary” idea of helping people first often gets buried under stockholders’ demands for short-term profit, unfortunately. What a different world it would be if every company were to take his idea seriously!

Denise December 11, 2008, 9:02 am

As a single mom I can relate with having pay out of pocket for medical expenses. Just recently I have started to use these programs from the drug manufactures and I can tell you they help out more than I thought they would.

Kim Woodbridge December 11, 2008, 9:06 am

Excellent post Mike! This is such an important issue. I’m fortunate in that I don’t currently take any medications but I know this will change as I get older.

Kim Woodbridge’s last blog post..The Downside to Being Helpful on Twitter

Russ N December 13, 2008, 6:59 pm

Most people hear about the PPA programs think it is great until they try to get enrolled. As mentioned the paperwork is too involved for a lot of people. Company name is a new company that assist people in need, by doing all the paperwork and get them enrolled and then (the other problem) keep them enrolled. Their cost is low, $12 per medication per month with a one time $20 application fee, if qualified. I do marketing for the company, and I can tell you profit is not the main focus of the company. People can see if they qualify on the website for free, then complete the application for free. A patient advocate will contact the person.

Editor’s note: In keeping with the comment policy of this blog, I have removed the name of the company and website links. I regret doing this since the company seems like it is doing a great service. I recommend that you search on Google for “prescription assistance.” The company — and others like it — will appear both in the advertising links to the right and in the search results.

Mike December 20, 2008, 1:48 am

@Denise, thank you for your comment, and thank you for dropping by. It’s really good to hear from someone who is actually using the pharmaceutical companies’ program.

@Kim, Thank you for the compliments. I, too, am fortunate that I have excellent insurance and have not had to struggle to pay for drugs. But just the copays cost my family $600 a month! I can only hope that these difficult financial times will not change my situation so that I need the information in this post.

michael August 9, 2015, 3:57 pm

I need assistance to pick a prescribed med up from the pharmacy

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