What Are Patient Assistance Programs?

Drug companies as well as non-profit organizations run hundreds of patient assistance programs (PAPs) that can help underinsured or uninsured patients save hundreds or even thousands of dollars on prescription medication.

With the rising costs of prescription drugs along with increasing numbers of people experiencing financial problems, some people need assistance to cover the cost of medication. Drug companies as well as non-profit organizations  run hundreds of patient assistance programs (PAPs) that can help underinsured or uninsured patients save hundreds or even thousands of dollars on prescription medication.

Organizations like Free Medicine Program, NeedyMeds and Partnership for Prescription Assistance (PPARx) Partnership have helped connected patients with more than 475 resources for free or deeply discounted medications. PPARx also acts as sort of a watchdog for consumers, warning them that no one should ever pay to get access to information about “free” patient assistance programs.

Generally, to qualify for assistance you should make less than $50,000 a year and have no insurance coverage for prescription drugs. Some programs require a much lower annual income, such as $30,000 or below. Your doctor must be willing to sign a form certifying your need for the medication and that to the best of his knowledge you do not have sufficient financial resources to pay for the recommended treatment.

Usually, prescription assistance covers brand name rather than generic drugs.

Just a few of the examples of available medications are as follows:

  • Diovan for treatment of high blood pressure or congestive heart failure.
  • Prozac for depression or anxiety.
  • Ritalin LA for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder or narcolepsy.
  • Tegretol and Tegretol XR for epilepsy or bipolar disorder.
  • Combivir for HIV.
  • BOTOX injections, but only for treatment of urinary incontinence and not cosmetic purposes.
  • Opana ER for relief of moderate to severe chronic pain.

It may take a little bit of time and effort to complete the forms required for free or low-cost prescription medications, but with persistence you can get the treatment you deserve without a financial strain.