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How to Get Low-Cost or Free Prescription Drugs

Many people qualify for low-cost or free prescription drug assistance


In 2004, millions of patients across America received low cost or free prescription drugs, according to the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA).

"We hope the number of people who are helped continues to grow. PhRMA member companies know a medication that sits on a shelf, out of financial reach of patients, helps no one," said Billy Tauzin, president and chief executive officer of PhRMA.

The record level of prescription drug assistance was reached in part because of a series of innovative new state Rx programs that serve as clearinghouses for the more than 275 public and private prescription drug assistance programs that are available in the United States.

PhRMA has launched programs in six states, working with dozens of community and health organizations to aid patients find and apply for help with their prescription drug costs.

Which states have Rx programs?

Here's a list of states that currently have Rx prescription drug programs, including contact information:

Rx for Ohio
Launch date: April 28, 2003
(877) 794-6446

Rx for West Virginia
Launch date: April 19, 2004
(877) 982-7948

Rx for Rhode Island
Launch date: May 19, 2004
(877) 743-6779

Rx for DC
Launch date: May 27, 2004
(202) 457-9432

Rx for Illinois
Launch date: November 9, 2004
(877) 793-6745

Rx for Washington
Launch date: November 16, 2004
(877) 923-6779

Rx for New Jersey
Launch date: January 4, 2005
(888) 793-6765

Other Prescription Medication Assistance Programs
NeedyMeds is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people find assistance with prescription medication costs and other health supplies and programs.

On the NeedyMeds Web site, you can search for free or low-cost prescription medication programs by:

  • the brand-name or generic name of prescription medications
  • drug company name
  • state and local programs in your area
You have to apply for the program to be considered, and NeedyMeds provides a downloadable application on the Web site.

The Medicine Program
Developed for people who have no medical insurance, The Medicine Program assists patients with enrolling in one or more of the many prescription drug assistance programs that are now available.

These programs provide prescription drugs free-of-charge to people in need, regardless of age, as long as they meet the sponsor's criteria.

Once a patient is approved and enrolled, the prescription drug is sent to his or her doctor, who dispenses it.

U.S. House of Representatives' Special Committee on Aging
(202) 224-5364

This group offers free information about drug company programs designed to help older Americans obtain prescription drugs. Call to have the information mailed to you.

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