Over 45 million people in the United States have no health insurance to help cover the costs of prescription medication. Treatment for anxiety often includes doctor’s visits, medication and sometimes counseling or treatment by a psychologist or psychiatrist. For those that do not have medical and prescription insurance, this treatment can be costly. Some people may have to go without medication because it is simply not affordable.
Pharmaceutical companies offer assistance programs for people that cannot afford their medication. The Partnership for Prescription Assistance helps provide information on over 475 public and private assistance programs. When using the site, you first complete a short questionnaire, when completed you will be given a list of programs that you may qualify for. If you prefer, you can contact them by phone at 1-888-4PPA-NOW (1-800-477-2669). This site does not provide the medication; it provides you with access to the different programs. You will need to apply to the program that fits your situation.
Depending on the program and the pharmaceutical company, medication might be sent to your home once a month or sent to your doctor’s office to be picked up. Some medications are provided free to people that need assistance while other medication may require a small co-payment.
The eligibility requirements for each program may also be different. Most of the requirements will be based on your household size, income level and whether or not you have prescription insurance. Income requirements are often 200% of the current federal poverty level. At this time, that would be approximately $19,000 for a single person and $32,000 for a family of three.
Although the Partnership for Prescription Assistance is the easiest way to find assistance programs, you can also contact the pharmaceutical company that manufactures your medication directly. Most will send you an application that you can complete and mail back. It will most probably have a section that you will need to have your physician complete.
The following is a list of the major pharmaceutical companies and a summary of the assistance programs they have. For further information on any of these programs, contact the company directly or go to Partnership for Prescription Assistance website.
This program offers medication, free of charge, for up to one year. It is mostly for the uninsured but they will give consideration if purchasing medication causes a financial hardship, even if you have insurance. You can visit Merck’s site and download an application or call 1-800-727-5400. Merck will send medications directly to the patient’s home.
Merck also offers a prescription discount program for people without prescription coverage. There is a selected list of medications available and savings should be around 15% to 20% off retail price. There are no income or age restrictions although you must be a resident of the U.S. to be eligible. You can download an certificate to receive 10% off, enroll online or request an enrollment form be mailed to you. There is no cost for enrollment.
Pfizer’s has a discount program that is available to anyone without prescription insurance and a program that offers free medication to the uninsured, if they meet eligibility requirements. You are able to download the application on their website or call 1-866-776-3700. Once approved, medication will be sent to your doctor’s office each month.
Pfizer also offers a program called “Pfizer’s Pfriends” which is a prescription discount program available to those without prescription insurance. Savings should be between 15% and 50% off retail price. The benefits are based on income and family status. There is no fee to enroll in the program. You can enroll online or call 1-866-8776-3700.
Novartis offers prescription assistance to those that do not have prescription insurance, are US citizens and can prove income eligibility. On their site, each medication included in the program is listed and there is a link for enrollment after each medication. Medications are shipped to your physician. For some medications, you might receive a pharmacy card to fill a prescription each month. A small co-payment is required for these medications. You can call Novartis at 1-800-277-2254 or visit their website.
Lilly and Company has a program called Lilly cares and offers prescription assistance for those without insurance that meet eligibility and are not eligible for Medicare or Medicaid. You can see all of the medications included in their program on their website. You can also call 1-800-545-6962. Medications are sent to your physician’s office.
This program is called Bridges to Access. The income eligibility for this program is 250% of the federal poverty level. Patients cannot directly enroll in this program; they must have an advocate to register with Glaxo SmithKline as an advocate. This can be a physician, physician assistant, pharmacist, social worker or a non-family member. You can download an application from their site or call 1-866-PATIENT to request one in the mail. Either patients or their advocates can request an application. Once you complete the application, the advocate is able to call Glaxo SmithKline with the information and they can receive a confirmation of acceptance over the phone. Prescriptions can be filled the same day for the first time. After that, medications will be mailed to the patient’s home.
Abbott Laboratories works specifically through Partnership for Prescription Assistance and does not have information on their website. An application will need to be downloaded from that site.
Astra Zeneca offers prescription assistance to people who meet their income guidelines. These are somewhat higher than those used by other companies. Normally, they only accept people with no insurance coverage. Once approved, your doctor will receive 90-day supplies of medication and it can be refilled for up to one year. After that patients will need to reapply for assistance. You can download an application from their site or from Partnership for Prescription Assistance.
Wyeth uses income guideline of 200% of the federal poverty level. You must also not have any medical insurance and not have financial resources to pay for medication. Applications can be downloaded from their site or you can call 1-800-568-9938. Medication can be sent to either your home or your physician’s office, depending on what your physician feels would be best.
Shire does not offer information on their patient assistance programs on their main site; however, it is available on the individual medication sites. You must meet income guidelines and be without prescription insurance. You can download applications on each medication site.
Ortho-McNeil offers free prescription medication to those that meet their eligibility requirements. You can download an application on their site or call 1-800-652-6227 to request an application be mailed to you.
Eileen Bailey is a freelance health writer. She is the author of What Went Right: Reframe Your Thinking for a Happier Now, Idiot’s Guide to Adult ADHD, Idiot’s Guide to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Essential Guide to Overcoming Obsessive Love, and Essential Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome. She can be found on Twitter @eileenmbailey and on Facebook at eileenmbailey.