Patient Assistance Programs

I thought this might be a good opportunity to voice a reminder that there are ways to get help medication costs.

In this economy, there is a lot of unemployment, a lot of financial struggle, and you can believe I’ve seen first-hand what having bipolar disorder (and trying to treat it) can do to your bank account and/or credit.

That said, I am a firm believer that if you qualify for free or reduced cost medications, it is your right to receive them.

I’ve talked a bit about patient assistance programs before, but when I finally found out last week I have been accepted into one I thought it was time for a reminder. Do you currently have low or no income? Are you struggling financially to receive your psychiatric medications? Are you living without insurance? If so, a patient assistance program may be right for you.

Patient assistance programs (they can be called other things but this is the most widespread term I’ve seen for them) are when the manufacturer of your medications realizes that not everyone can afford prescription X at $700 a bottle and allows low or no income patients (who have a current doctor and prescription) to apply to receive the medication for free.

And free is good!

Usually the application involves some forms to be filled out on your end, then your doctor filling out a portion on theirs, before sending them (sometimes with a prescription attached). After a month (sometimes six weeks) they will send medication to your doctor for you, all you have to do is pick it up. Having just done this for Geodon, I picked up 5 months worth of medication at once… which made the package one of the most expensive things I’ve touched in quite a while!

I’ve rounded up a few of the websites for a couple of the more widely used medications, but I believe there are even more than this out there. I would just do a search for “patient assistance programs” and your medication brand name to find out if a program exists.

Unfortunately, these programs do not exist for drugs like Ambien, which is a controlled substance… making the mail order portion illegal I believe.

For more information, check out:

5 responses to “Patient Assistance Programs

  1. I wonder if a patient could qualify for mo re than one program at a time (if
    they were taking more than one medication) – do you know?

    • I have known people who were on several programs at once, they are all independent of one another… so as long as you are willing to fill out the paperwork for each, there shouldn’t be any reason you can’t be on more than one program.

  2. These programs are great for no and low income folks. I’ve received Abilify from BMS on several occasions, but only when I was close to destitute. Now that I’m working a FT job, but do not have health insurance, any sort of prescription coverage, and cannot afford $1200+ a month for Abilify alone, BMS doesn’t give a sh*t about me. Anyone know any other avenues to obtain these meds if you have sub-middle class income?

    • I haven’t found many resources for people with a steady income, just no insurance… and I think that is part of the reason why we’re going to be required to have insurance in the not too distant future. It is kind of a bum deal for those who can’t really afford it, but supposedly there will be government programs put in place to help fill that void. So complicated answer: not really right now, but hopefully soon. Hang in there!

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