National Autism Awareness Month

In recognition of National Autism Awareness Month, we at NeedyMeds want to share the information and resources available for those in need and spread acceptance of those on the autism spectrum. In a previous blog post, we outlined what is known and the information available for those with a family member who has autism. With approximately 1% of the world’s population falling somewhere on the autism spectrum, it is not only important to be aware of the resources and to know the information, we must know how to be accepting and understanding of those with special needs.


NeedyMeds has information on several resources available to children with autism and their families designed togive them access to the same activities and opportunities as other people.  There are camps and retreats for those with autism  and Asperger syndrome that encourage acceptance and compassion. With trained professionals and low camper-to-counselor ratios, these retreats give those on the autism spectrum the chance to experience community and fun in a safe environment. There are also scholarships available so people on the spectrum can continue their education free of limitations.


For families facing an autism diagnosis together, there are various types of financial assistance available in the Diagnosis-Based Assistance area of our website. Having special needs or the responsibility of caring for one who does isn’t something anyone would ever ask for, but it is nothing to be ashamed of. Widespread awareness and consideration are as important as any form of assistance, and can mean the most to those in need of it.

A Prescription for Change – Making Affordable Medicine a Priority

In a previous guest post, Alison Lawton of the Access Our Medicine Initiative wrote on the importance of affordable medications and AOM’s goal to reach 100,000 signatures for their Access Our Medicine Declaration. Having achieved their goal, they are now planning a worldwide Thunderclap of awareness.


When we launched the Access Our Medicine Initiative on World Health Day last year I didn’t know if anyone would respond.


We knew that the price of medicine was rising for life-changing medicines with devastating consequences for everyone, around the globe. We learned of people choosing between food and medicine, being pushed into poverty and even dying because they couldn’t afford medicine they needed.


But I also knew that for many people the issue of access to affordable medicine just isn’t top of mind until they or their loved ones become sick. By then its too late – who has energy to talk about ways to improve the system and make medicine affordable at the moment when the priority is on advocating health for themselves or their friends and family?


And yet, the response has been overwhelming. People from all walks of life have shown their support and put their names to a declaration – a statement that everyone should have access to affordable medicine.


Sir Richard Branson, global health leaders and another 100,000 of us from 157 countries have signed as well as over 160 organizations representing just under 800 million people dealing with a wide range of issues including cancer, diabetes, asthma, and multiple sclerosis.


From San Francisco to New York, London to Mumbai, Johannesburg to Bejing, people have declared that affordable medicine needs to be a reality.


The Thunderous Next Step!

So far individuals have heard about the declaration by email or word and mouth. We want to raise awareness by trying an online tool called a Thunderclap – a way for thousands of people to simultaneously communicate a message through their networks and catch the world’s attention. 

AOM Thunderclap

Our goal is reach over 30 million people. To achieve that we need individuals and organizations committed to this issue to join this Thunderclap with us.


The Thunderclap messages will be blasted out on May 6th and the results will be shared with governments, businesses, and civil society organizations in the middle of negotiations on the UN Sustainable Development Goals – which determine the global priorities for the next 15 years and allow us to expect measurable results.


These results will be a collective call to meet a challenge: Find practical ways to ensure that breakthroughs in medicine are shared with all.


No medicine should be out of reach because of its price. Let’s make access to affordable medicine a reality.


Join the Thunderclap.


-Alison Lawton, founder of the Access Our Medicine Initiative


Bruins Fan Raises Awareness to #BumpOutCancer

Last summer, we wrote about the Ice Bucket Challenge in support of the ALS Association. This year, a young FistBumpChallengeBruins fan’s viral video has launched a new awareness campaign. Liam Fitzgerald, 8 years old, was seen fist-bumping Boston Bruins players during their warm-up last November, and captured the hearts of hockey fans around the nation. In 2011, Liam “kicked cancer’s butt,” and is now working on raising money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society with his own “Fist Bump Challenge.” Less bracing than a bucket of ice water, Liam’s campaign asks people to post pictures or videos of themselves fist bumping each other on social media and donating $5—$1 for each finger and thumb—and then nominating five more people to participate in the challenge.


Leukemia is a cancer that affects blood and bone marrow and develops when blood cells produced in the bone marrow grow out of control. It’s estimated that over 50,000 Americans are diagnosed with leukemia every year and 24,000 die from the disease annually. Lymphoma is the name for a group of blood cancers that develop in the lymphatic system. Nearly 80,000 new cases of lymphoma are diagnosed in the US every year.


While donating to research into these cancers can help find an effective treatment or cure, NeedyMeds offers information on several programs that may be able to help those currently suffering and requiring assistance.  We have discussed resources for leukemia and lymphoma in a previous blog post. To refresh, NeedyMeds has Disease Information Pages for both leukemia and lymphoma with links to Patient Assistance Programs (PAPs) for medications commonly prescribed for leukemia and lymphoma patients, offering them at low- or no cost. We also have Diagnosis-Based Assistance (DBA) pages leukemia and lymphoma. Additional assistance may also be found in our DBA page for all cancers. Visit our site or call NeedyMeds’ toll-free helpline (800-503-6897) for information.

Introducing $4 Generic Discount Drug Programs

Earlier this year, we announced a project we would be releasing in 2015. After months of work and research, we are now offering information on discount generic medications. These $4 Generic Discount Drug Programs offer 30- or 90-day supplies of prescribed generic medications for prices as low as $4-$15. With over 120 of these programs nationwide, this is the first time information for them is searchable and available in one place.


PharmacyUsing the new resource, one can search for prices for thousands of generic medications as well as programs in their area or national pharmacies such as Walmart, CVS, and Walgreens along with local and regional pharmacies. “Our goal at NeedyMeds is to provide all the purchasing options so individuals can find the best price for their medicines,” said Dr. Richard Sagall, president and co-founder of NeedyMeds. “This information complements our data on patient assistance programs, coupons, copay assistance programs and rebates.”


Part of NeedyMeds’ mission statement has always been to help people facing problems paying for medications and health care.  With the new information available on our site, we hope to help even more patients find an affordable solution. “We offer a great drug discount card which helps thousands of people save every day,” said Leah Zaroulis, the $4 Generic project’s lead researcher. “But our primary goal is to help people save by utilizing whichever program is best for them. If the best price is through a $4 program, then we want them to use it.”


The new area on our website can be found in the Patient Savings tab under Prescription Assistance. The Generic Discount Drug Program information can also be accessed by calling our toll-free helpline at 800-503-6897.

Resources for Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

The National Institute of Cancer says that colorectal cancer is cancer that forms in the colon or rectum in both men and women. It is the third most common non-skin cancer and is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. To help raise awareness of this deadly but highly preventable disease, March has been designated Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.

In February 2000, President Bill Clinton officially proclaimed March as National Colon Cancer Awareness Month

Screening is the most effective way to reduce one’s risk of colorectal cancer; it is preventable and, if caught early, treatable. Risk increases with age, so people over 50 years old are encouraged to get screened. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a variety of tests, from a stool test once a year to a sigmoidoscopy every three to five years and/or colonoscopy every 10 years. Despite the risks, 1 in 3 adults ages 50-75 are still not getting screened as recommended. Healthy lifestyle choices, such as being physically active, maintaining a healthy weight, not drinking alcohol to excess and being smoke-free can also lower your risk for colorectal cancer.


With 140,000 Americans diagnosed with colorectal cancer every year, it’s important to know the warning signs.  More than 90% of colorectal cancers occur in people over 50 years old and may not always be symptomatic, which is why screening is so important. Symptoms may include blood in the stool, stomach cramps or pains that do not go away, and inexplicable weight loss. Other factors may increase one’s risk, such as a family history of colorectal cancer or a personal history of inflammatory bowel disease. A doctor may suggest screening before 50 years old if you are at high risk.


NeedyMeds’ Diagnosis-Based Assistance for Colorectal Cancer has information for national programs offering financial assistance as well as state programs offering testing for those at risk. Additionally, we have information on programs that provide assistance for those with any cancer diagnosis, such as travel expenses or medical supplies. Use our website to find assistance or call our toll-free helpline at 1-800-503-6897.

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