What is a Patient Assistance Program?

A program offered by some drug manufacturers that offers certain medications at a discount or for free to people who cannot afford them. All major drug companies have patient assistance programs.

How do I know if I am eligible?

Each drug company has its own eligibility requirements.

In most cases, you can get help from a patient assistance program if:

  • you do not have prescription drug insurance that covers the medicines you need
  • you are a U.S. resident or citizen
  • you meet the income limits set by the drug company for the medicine you need

You can use the Federal Poverty Level Calculator on the www.NeedyMeds.org  web site to see if your income meets a specific drug company's income requirements for patient assistance.

Patient assistance programs help people of all ages, including children. Some programs help people on Medicare, but others do not.

What support will I get?

If you qualify for a patient assistance program, it may provide:

  • Prescription medicine free of charge or at low cost.
  • Medicine sent to your home, your doctor's office, or your pharmacy, depending on the program.
  • You can usually get refills for up to a year before reapplying.

How do I apply?

To apply for a patient assistance program you will need to send an application to the company that makes the prescription drug that you need. If you need several drugs made by different manufacturers, you must apply to each drug company.

Most applications have a section for you to fill out and a section for your doctor to fill out. You must include proof of income. Most programs require you to reapply each year.

How can I get more help?

Several nonprofit organizations can help you find and apply for patient assistance programs. On these web sites, you can:

  • check if the prescription drugs you need are available from patient assistance programs
  • identify the drug manufacturers
  • See if you are eligible
  • print applications and instructions

Nonprofits who can provide general help understanding and accessing patient assistance programs include:

NeedyMeds.org

NeedyMeds.org is a private nonprofit web site that lets you search for patient assistance programs by drug name. For each drug on the list, NeedyMeds.org gives the program name, phone number, application link, eligibility guidelines, application requirements, and program details.

Partnership for Prescription Assistance (PPA)

The Partnership for Prescription Assistance (PPA) is a joint effort of American drug companies, medical organizations, and government agencies to inform patients about patient assistance programs. The PPA offers a toll-free helpline as well as an online application wizard and program information. The toll-free helpline is 1-888-477-2669 or look up www.pparx.org. 

PatientAssistance.com

This is a free resource designed to help connect patients who cannot afford their prescription medications with patient assistance programs.

rxassist.com

This is a website with information, news, and a database that are all designed to help you find out about ways to get affordable, or free medications.  The database includes information on the pharmaceutical companies’ patient assistance programs, or programs that provide free medication to low-income patients.  RxAssist was created by Volunteers in Health Care, a national, nonprofit resource center for health care programs working with the uninsured. Email: info@rxassist.org.

Have an epilepsy related question?

Please call the Epilepsy Resource Center Helpline at 1-800-332-1000, or in Spanish, 1-866-748-8008 or email us at info@efa.org.

Other resources

 

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