If you need help paying for medication, you are not alone.
For people who take medication on a regular basis, the costs can be astronomical. Even if the meds are generic, the money adds up month after month. Every little bit of financial assistance helps. How do people get on patient assistance programs?
Patient assistance programs provide free medications.
You may have a friend or relative who gets their medicine for free every month. Sometimes, the bottles of pills are shipped right to their door. In other cases, there may be a payment card that covers the cost of the prescription at the pharmacy. Either way, you would like to know if such a program exists for your monthly meds.
Finding a patient assistance program that pays for your prescription can be easy.
While not always the case, often, it can be super easy to find these programs. The first step is to sit at your computer and open your web browser. Or, you can even use your phone or tablet to get started. Next, fire up the Google search engine. You can find that by typing in the top address bar, “google.com.” pressing enter after typing the address will bring up Google. Of course, you are probably way more advanced by now with using Google search on your phone and computer. I just want to be clear that you make certain you are using Google and not Bing, Yahoo, or some other search engine that might not return the optimal results. If you do not find what you are looking for, you can later try those other search engines.
Here is what to look for.
Now that you have Google open, here is what you can search for. Type in the name of your medication in the search box. Be sure to use the brand name and not the generic name. For example, if you are looking for Suboxone, type in “Suboxone,” not “buprenorphine,” or “buprenorphine/naloxone.” Also, consider looking for therapeutically equivalent other brands. If you are searching for Suboxone, you might also search for similar brands, such as ZubSolv or Bunavail. Then, here is the critical part. Before pressing enter on your keyboard to start the search. Type a space after the drug name and then type in, “patient assistance program.” So, for example, if you are looking for ZubSolv, you will type in the search, “ZubSolv Patient Assistance Program,” into Google and then press enter to start the search. You do not have to type the quotes. I only use quotes here to separate the search text in this article. In fact, putting quotes around your search can limit the useful results. Only use quotes if you want to find that exact sequence of words.
Here is how to handle your results.
Now that you have started your search, it is time to evaluate and act on your results. Let us use ZubSolv as an example. In most cases, you are going to hope to find a search result that lands on the drug manufacturer’s website. The reason that I insisted typing the brand name and not the generic name is that generic drug makers tend not to offer patient assistance programs that will give you medicine at low cost or free. The manufacturer of ZubSolv is Orexo. In this case, unless things have changed since I wrote this article, you will find a helpful result, but not on Orexo’s website. This is not to say that Orexo does not have information on their own patient assistance program. It only means that it is probably well hidden and not searchable on Google. Yet, you will find the application for the program and the phone number to call. I believe that Needy Meds is hosting the Orexo application on their site.
What to do with a patient assistance program.
When you find such an application online, you can now print it out and fill it out with a pen. Nearly all patient assistance programs require that you provide additional documentation in the form of tax forms to verify your claims of having an income low enough to qualify for the program. You could fill out the application directly on your computer if you have a PDF editor and you are used to filling things out that way. The next step is to send in the application. I also recommend calling the phone number to let them know you are applying and see if there is any other information that they are going to need. In the case of Orexo, to use them as an example again, each doctor can only have one patient on the program. But, don’t worry about switching doctors yet. If your doctor says they already have a patient on that program, they are allowed to request additional spaces.
When it comes to getting help with patient assistance, be persistent.
It may seem overwhelming at first and not worth the effort. Don’t give up. I have seen people who are on multiple programs for different medications that they take. There are also programs that provide full medical care for free. Here is a page that lists such programs by state. Maybe you can help to contribute your findings to that site. You simply have to look around, search, and then be persistent in filling out paperwork and providing necessary information. They don’t always make it easy to get into these programs. This is to keep the numbers down by filtering out the people who will not put forth the effort. I don’t think this is fair. Just because you may not be pushy does not mean you need help less than a person who is. But, it is worth it to put in that extra effort to be creative in your search efforts and persistent in following through to get help.