Prescription Assistance Programs Are Good For The Nation’s Health

Today in the United States, there are over 50 million uninsured Americans. Over 30 million of them have a household income that is at 200% of the Federal Poverty Level or less. What this means is that when these individuals need prescription drugs that are unaffordable to them, they are forced to forgo drug treatments prescribed by their physicians and consequently experience continuing ill health and increased rates of morbidity and mortality. Obviously, this is harmful to them, to their communities, and to the nation. Fortunately, there are steps that can be taken to address this problem.

Studies have shown that when this segment of the population has access to low cost or free prescription medicine, hospital admissions and emergency room visits are greatly reduced. In fact, hospital admissions have been reduced by 46% and emergency room visits have been reduced by 32%.

Most prescription drugs that are unaffordable to these low income residents are available free or at low cost through assistance programs established by pharmaceutical manufacturers to support access to prescriptions for low‐income and at‐risk populations. However, identifying which pharmaceutical manufacturer sponsored programs a patient may need and navigating the complex and demanding application process of each manufacturer’s program can be a daunting task. The application process, the qualifications and the income and asset verification requirements vary substantially among the various manufacturers’ programs, and may even vary between different classes of drugs from the same manufacturer. Steps in the process include identification of the pharmaceutical manufacturer that makes and/or distributes the drug, determination of whether the drug is currently covered, determining if the eligibility requirements are met, completing the complex application and obtaining copies of the required income and asset verification documents. These processes place a high and often unmanageable burden on the low income patient trying to obtain the drugs as well as the patient’s physician, patient advocates and in some situations, the patient’s pharmacist. Low income patients are also more likely to have a lower educational achievement level that hinders their ability to navigate the system. These factors often result in failure to obtain the free or low‐cost drugs even when they are available and the patient meets the qualification requirements.

Rx Help, a division of Preferred Health Group provides patient advocacy services for patients that qualify for a nominal fee. Contact us today at 866-960-9497 or visit us at Prescription Help.