Most pharmaceutical manufacturers sponsor patient assistance programs. These programs are helping patients who qualify receive medication free of charge or at greatly reduced prices. Although eligibility criteria vary from one company to the next, age is usually not a factor in order to qualify.
Each pharmaceutical manufacturer will have its own requirements for eligibility. Usually main criteria that are considered are income and level of your existing insurance coverage. The patient also must not qualify for any third party coverage, such as a state or federal program that would cover the cost of their medicine.
Individual's income criteria vary with family incomes ranging from below the poverty level to up to $ 80,000.
Other factors such as the total number of family members in your household and the total cost of your medical expenses may also be considered by PAPs.
No, not all medications are available free-of-charge. Typically only the manufacturers of brand-name medicine sponsor these programs. The reason for this is that less-expensive generic alternatives are not yet available.
Most of the companies have applications that must be completed and signed by both the patient and their medical doctor. The applicant fills out their general demographic information (you may be asked to verify income and lack of insurance coverage). At this point, the form is usually given to the doctor's office to be reviewed and signed by the physician. The doctor’s office will include medical information, specific prescription information or an actual prescription to be sent along with the application to the program address. Afterwards a completed application is either mailed or faxed to pharmaceutical company for consideration. In some limited case companies will allow enrollment by phone.
Although the time varies by each case, it can be anywhere from 3 to 6 weeks. If it takes longer than that, it is a good idea to have doctor’s office follows up with your application.
Depending on specific program and the type of medication it will be sent either be sent to the doctor’s office or directly to the patient. Some companies may send a voucher that you can take to your neighborhood pharmacy. If you are applying for multiple medications, you should be aware that they normally would arrive at different times. Although it could vary by program, usually a three-month supply is sent at a time.
Most patient assistance programs allowing for medication refills. Some programs limit of only a three- month supply, others allow the patient to apply indefinitely. Refills are not sent automatically. Each program is different but it can require a new application which takes time. Make sure to carefully read the initial PAP application and allow adequate time to receive prescription refills.
If you have any questions, always call the phone number on the PAP application. Eligibility, drugs, dosages, even the themselves programs often change regularly so it's best directly contact the program for more information. Even if you do not fit the PAP guidelines but still cannot afford your medicine - inform program representative - some pharmaceutical companies are willing to make exceptions.
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