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 is a private nonprofit web site that provides information about government programs, low-cost or free medical and dental clinics, and prescription assistance programs. They also list programs that may help people who cannot afford medicines and healthcare costs. You can also find some disease-specific financial aid programs.

NeedyMeds.org 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.

Medicine Assistance Tool

This web-based tool is provided by members of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturerers of America (PhRMA). This search engine helps people look for patient assistance programs. It is a joint effort of American drug companies, medical organizations, and government agencies to inform patients about patient assistance programs.


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


This is a resource center with information about patient assistance programs, Medicare Part D programs for low-cost medicines and other issues related to medication access.

RxAssist was created by Volunteers in Health Care, a national, nonprofit resource center for health care programs working with the uninsured. There is no phone number. Contact them by email: info@rxassist.org.

Veteran's Affairs Veteran's Benefits

The Veteran's Affairs (VA) Department provides services and help to veterans and their dependents.

Rx Outreach

This is a nonprofit mail order pharmacy. It provides affordable prices on some generic medicines to low income individuals and families.

Other Resources:

FamilyWize Community Service Partnership

This organization negotiates a reduced price for medications with many local, chain, and online pharmacies. Its website provides a search tool for looking up medication prices and a prescription savings card or app anyone can use to obtain the lowest price for their medications.

Have an epilepsy related question?

Please call the Epilepsy & Seizures 24/7 Helpline at 1-800-332-1000, or in Spanish, 1-866-748-8008 or Ask the Epilepsy & Seizures 24/7 Helpline.

Other resources

Authored By: 
Epilepsy Foundation Health Communications
Authored Date: 
Reviewed By: 
Patty Osborne Shafer RN, MN
Saturday, March 14, 2020