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Getting Help with Drug Bills

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Q. What are the best sites for financial help with very expensive drugs? I don’t qualify for Medicaid but my drug bills can reach $5,000 a month. I have multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s and atrial fibrillation. I am a retired nurse and scared about how I can afford these medicines.

A. You may qualify for assistance from the pharmaceutical companies that make your drugs. Go to www.helpingpatients.org to find out.

We are sending you our Guide to Saving Money on Medicine for more information about free medications and other tips for saving money such as ordering from legitimate Canadian Web sites.

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Many times the cost of a drug is the same regardless of the strength. Example, the price of a 20 MG maybe the same as 40 MG, or 80 MG of the same drug. If it is not a time released drug, ask the physician to write a prescription for the same number of pills but double the strength. Then split the pills in half. Drug stores sell pill splitters for about $6.00

If you are taking generic drugs, your local St. Vincent de Paul society may be able to help.

PEOPLE'S PHARMACY RESPONSE: ACCORDING TO ITS WEB SITE, THE ST. VINCENT DE PAUL CHARITY PROVIDES FREE PHARMACY SERVICES. WE DO NOT KNOW HOW ONE QUALIFIES.
THERE MAY ALSO BE LOCAL AND STATE ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS FOR THE INDIGENT.

Needymeds.org is a site which I used for patients when working in a hospital to obtain help with meds. Qualifications vary for different companies and some companies may be willing to stretch the limits if an individual is taking very expensive drugs. Needymeds provides links to drug company sites for applications for patient assistance programs as well as coupons. They were very helpful to me in the past.

Often a last resort by can be useful when it's an emergency- asking friends and family for help: http://www.gofundme.com/patient-assistance/

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