Go Ad-Free
logoThe People's Perspective on Medicine

Application for Patient Assistance Can Be Frustrating

Q. People with high drug bills are sometimes told to seek a “Patient Assistance Program.” The drug companies run these to provide free medicine for people who qualify.
It sounds great, but for me they have not been so helpful. I filed a huge packet of information and then they came up with another question. Rather then just requesting the additional information, they denied my request and returned the entire packet for me to start over.
I was asked for a letter from my previous employer stating why my position ended. I certainly hadn’t foreseen that! It took two weeks to get the packet back. Though I returned it immediately, they denied it because it did not have an original letter from unemployment about my benefits. So I am still in limbo. This whole process has taken more than six weeks.
I am in the doughnut hole, so I have no drug coverage. My unemployment payment ($345 weekly) makes me ineligible for other coverage, but my drug bills run $1,400 a month. I think patient assistance is a bit of a joke.

A. Patient assistance programs were created to provide free medicine for people who can’t afford their drugs otherwise. The application process may vary from one company to another. The physician is a critical ally for such an application. There is more information about patient assistance programs at www.helpingpatients.org or 888-477-2669.

Rate this article
0- 0 ratings
About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies..
Tired of the ads on our website?

Now you can browse our website completely ad-free for just $5 / month. Stay up to date on breaking health news and support our work without the distraction of advertisements.

Browse our website ad-free
Join over 150,000 Subscribers at The People's Pharmacy

We're empowering you to make wise decisions about your own health, by providing you with essential health information about both medical and alternative treatment options.