Local News

Prescription Assistance Program Runs Out of Money

Posted March 9, 1998 6:00 a.m. EST

— A program in Cumberland County that helps people who can't pay for medicine has run out of money. That means more than 2,000 people who rely on the program have to look elsewhere for help.

Linda Mullen hasn't been able to work for two years. She's physically disabled and is on fifteen daily medications. Mullen had relied on the county's health department program that helped buy medicine for those who couldn't afford it. Now, that program is out of funding.

"I was devastated," Mullen says. "I didn't know what I was going to do."

Mullen had nowhere to turn, so a local pharmacy provided what medication it could with a promise from her that she would pay up when she could. You're already depressed, and when something like that happens, it causes more depression. So they add more medication to you, and so it's that many more prescriptions that you need to get filled that you can't get filled.

Two-thousand patients had relied on the medication help, now they can only hope charitable programs like the care clinic can help them out.

"We were inundated with phone calls begging for medications," explains Sister Jean Rhoads of the Care Clinic.

Rhoads says her clinic is helping patients on a priority basis. They have medication for serious illnesses such as high blood pressure. They could have a potential stroke if they didn't take their medication on a regular basis or a potential heart attack. So, it's a life threatening situation that these people need to keep their medications coming.

County health department officials say they need $500,000 to re-start the program. It's up to the county board of health to decide where that money should come from.

The program filled more than 6,000 prescriptions and served 2,300 patients in the last six months it was operating.