Local News

Program Helps Patients In Dealing With High Cost Of Prescription Drugs

Posted April 11, 2002

— Many of the major pharmaceutical companies are rolling out programs to help seniors deal with the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs. A new discount program will include seven companies offering savings on 150 medicines.

Helen Palmer fills her prescriptions every month and usually has to pay full price. She has a discount card that helps her with one pharmaceutical company, but she is applying for help with another.

"Any discount you could get, if it wasn't, but $5 would help," she said.

Seven drug companies have joined together under one discount program called

Together-Rx

which starts in June. The program will give a 20 percent to 40 percent discounts to individuals with an income under $28,000 a year and couples with an income under $38,000.

Other companies are offering similar programs.

Pfizer

and

Eli Lilly

lower the eligibility bar on their medications and offer them at low flat costs.

Merck Pharmaceuticals

offers its prescriptions free of charge to eligible participants. Most require that they be Medicare enrollees with no other prescription coverage.

"If there's not a tremendous amount of communication from these companies to the patients. They're not going to know which drugs are actually covered," pharmacist Mike James said.

James said it is usually up to the pharmacist to break the news to customers that the drugs they need are not listed. He said they need a simpler process as well as lower cost.

"I think there are a lot of people that fall within the category that need help with their prescriptions," he said.

You can apply for any of the programs free of charge.

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