Finding help to afford prescription medications
For people with chronic illnesses, buying expensive medications every month can be a burden. Fortunately, there are ways to avoid breaking the bank.
Patient Assistance Programs (PAPs) are one of several ways to find help. According to NeedyMeds, an organization that educates people about affordable healthcare options, these programs are run by pharmaceutical companies and provide free or low-cost medicine to individuals who qualify.
NeedyMeds provides a vast array of information on programs which help people afford expensive medications. Its resources include a PAP database.
The organization also categorizes information by illness type. The Lupus Foundation of America recently partnered with NeedyMeds to develop a resource page with information specifically for people with lupus.
Find help with the cost of medicine via the NeedyMeds Lupus Collection.
Do your research
Different companies have different qualifications for receiving financial assistance, so it's important to do some research. Knowing your options can help when it comes to navigating the process of applying for funding assistance.
“You learn to be an advocate,” said Colin Cornett whose wife, Pam, has been living with lupus for more than 20 years.
Pam and Colin have insurance, but in 2014, Pam was prescribed a drug that was going to cost a $5,000 copay each month.
They were able to find help through a PAP, but hit a snag again in 2015 when their application was up for annual renewal. They were faced with the reality of either having to come up with $5,000 on the spot or Pam having to forgo her medication.
“It took three days to get in contact with the manufacturer,” said Colin. “But as soon as I got to the manufacturer they were sending me a vial to solve the immediate issue.”
His advice to anyone looking into PAPs or renewing one is to start early every year and know what resources are out there. While not every drug company offers PAPs, many of the medications used to treat lupus do have assistance available.