In addition to programs we’ve already reviewed, Medicaid, Medicare, etc., there are other avenues by which people who can’t afford needed medication may be able to receive it at either a discounted rate or free.
Some states have medication assistance programs for people who fall below a certain income and means level. Examples include ConnPACE in Connecticut and Prescription Advantage in Massachusetts. Many states will offer medication assistance programs, but only for those sixty-five and older. There are a number of websites that can direct you to what is available in your state. Additionally, contacting your state’s department of social service, welfare, or health (they all have different names in different states) can get you the information you need.
In addition to state-run programs, pharmaceutical companies, especially with medications that are still on patent, will offer medication-assistance programs. In order to qualify, most companies require that a simple application be completed and that the medications are given under a physician’s (or other licensed prescriber’s) written order.
Web sites that provide information, eligibility criteria, etc. on free or discounted medications including downloadable applications are:
• Needymeds.com, Run by a non-profit organization, Needymeds, Inc., out of Massachusetts
• Rxassist.org, Operated by a non-profit organization, Volunteers in Healthcare, which comes out of Brown University
• Ppark.org, Partnership for Prescription Assistance; 1-888-4PPA-NOW (477-2669)
• NAMI.org, National Alliance on Mental Illness. On the NAMI web site is a page with links to all of the major pharmaceutical companies that produce and market psychiatric medication: www.nami.org/Content/ContentGroups/Helpline1/Prescription_Drug_Patient_Assistance_Programs.htm