The current economic conditions in this country, is having an impact on many people’s ability to purchase their prescription medicine. Some of the drug manufacturers are helping to provide additional prescription drug help. One large company, Merck, which manufactures Singulair for asthma, Januvia for diabetes and Fosamax for osteoporosis, has changed their guidelines on the amount of total annual income a family can make and still qualify for free prescription drug help. Now, single people making less than $43,000 can qualify for help with prescriptions. For a family of four, the limit is $88,000 or less. Merck claims that it has helped over 1.7 million patients with $1.9 billion of medicine over the last seven years.
Another company making a splash is Biogen.“We are committed to helping patients, and that commitment is evident in the $140 million of financial assistance we provided in 2008,” spokesperson Shannon Altimari from drug maker Biogen says. Biogen Idec provides help for prescription Avonex and Tysabri which is used for the treatment of multiple sclerosis.
The giant manufacturer Pfizer, the maker of Lipitor and Viagra, announced a program earlier this year called Maintain. This program provides free medicine to unemployed patients who need prescription drug help. Maintain is just one of several patient assistance programs that the company offers.
AstraZeneca just announced that it was changing its medication assistance program to provide assistance sooner to certain patients. The company’s program offers free medicine or low-cost medicine to uninsured, low-income patients. AstraZeneca said in a statement that it “would immediately extend assistance to qualifying patients who have lost their jobs, had their incomes reduced or had a change in marital status or family size”. The company said these types of patients had been having problems qualifying for prescription drug help because their tax returns showed too high an income. Qualifying patients can now enroll by providing documentation of their current income and family size, AstraZeneca said.