- Last Updated: 08 November 2015 08 November 2015
Free or low-cost prescription drugs for lower income individuals (Patient Assistance Programs)
Patient assistance programs (PAP's) are programs established by drug companies that provide free or low-cost drugs to individuals who are unable to pay for them. These programs may also be called charitable drug programs, indigent drug programs or medication assistance programs. Most prescribed drugs are available through these programs. All of the major drug companies offer patient assistance programs, but each company has its own eligibility requirements and application procedures.
To utilize these programs for your prescriptions, you must first find out which company manufactures each of your prescriptions. You then apply to each company for the specific medication(s) the company manufactures.
You must meet program income eligibility requirements, which may differ somewhat from company to company. Generally, individuals must have an income below 200% of the federal poverty standard, must be a U.S. resident or citizen, and must not have other prescription drug coverage.
There are two websites that provide comprehensive information on which medications are manufactured by each company, as well as how to obtain applications for each company's program. The Partnership for Prescription Assistance at www.pparx.org —phone number: 1-888-477-2669, will allow you to download company applications.
A second program, RxAssist—a Patient Assistance Program Center, www.rxassist.org —phone number, 401-729-3284, also provides comprehensive information and assistance. You must fill out each application carefully, according to instructions. Some companies require that the physician's office obtain the application form by calling the company.
After the form is completed and submitted, the company will decide if you are eligible. If an individual is approved, the medication may be sent directly to the patient, to the doctor's office, or to the patient's pharmacy - depending on the program. Most medications provided are free, but some companies require a small co-payment.
Each company will have a different procedure for refills. These programs are extremely helpful for those who have no other means to pay for their prescriptions.
Delivery of medications—Some pharmacies may have home delivery services. If you are too sick to pick-up your medications, your local taxi company will often pick-up and deliver your medication for a fixed cost.