Introducing GAP: The Generic Assistance Program

NeedyMeds has always been a leading resource for information on patient assistance programs to help cover the costs of brand name drugs. There are hundreds of programs providing free or low-cost brand name medication, but there is yet to be an assistance program to help with the cost of expensive generic drugs. It is a common misconception that generic medications are all inexpensive. The truth is that there are many that cost hundreds of dollars per year, and are essential to the health of many people. With the help of Rx Outreach, the largest non-profit pharmacy in the country, NeedyMeds is launching a first-of-its-kind generic medication assistance program, called GAP (Generic Assistance Program).

 

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The Generic Assistance Program will offer nearly 20 generic medications at no cost to people who meet program eligibility guidelines. The guidelines include:

  • Must have no prescription coverage for needed medication
  • At or below 100% Federal Poverty Level
  • Must be US citizen, legal entrant, or have a work visa

 

NeedyMeds and Rx Outreach provided the initial funding for the program and have launched a crowdfunding campaign on HEALfundr to expand GAP in the future. On top of that, an anonymous donor has agreed to match donations made through HEALfundr up to $50,000! We are hopeful that individuals, organizations, and generic manufacturers will see the value of this service and donate to help us expand and take advantage of the current matching program. The funds raised will be used to pay for a year’s worth of an offered generic medication for those in need.

Click here for program details or read the official press release here. Donate to the HEALfundr campaign! Sign up is completely free and donations are secure. Remember: every donation—whether it’s $5 or $50—will be matched dollar-for-dollar by a generous anonymous donor.

Resources for ALS

icebucketchallenge

Chances are you have at least seen a video on your social network of choice of someone you may know dumping ice water over their heads, or possibly even posted one. The “Ice Bucket Challenge” has become a mainstream phenomena and significantly raised awareness for those suffering from the chronic illness ALS. Donations have also been on the rise, with the ALS Association reporting over 7 times the amount donated in just the past three weeks compared to the same time period last year. With 260,000 new donors already, the number is expected to continue to climb.

 

What Is ALS?

ALS stands for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and is often referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease” after the New York Yankee first baseman who retired due to the illness in 1939 and died two years later. Today, 20% survive more than five years after diagnosis, with 5% living 20 years; physicist Stephen Hawking has lived for over 50 years since his diagnosis. Early symptoms include muscle weakness and stiffness, and progresses into a wasting paralysis. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis affects 350,000 worldwide and it is estimated that 30,000 Americans have the neurodegenerative disease at any given time, with 5600 newly diagnosed each year. ALS kills an average of two out of every 100,000 people annually.

Finding Help on NeedyMeds

While donating to research into this debilitating condition 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.  Our ALS Resource Page has information and links to Patient Assistance Programs (PAPs) for medications commonly prescribed to ALS patients, offering them to patients at low- or no cost. Our Diagnosis-Based Assistance (DBA) page for ALS has several national programs that offer everything from service animals to financial assistance for equipment or home modifications as well as information on the individual ALS Association chapters and other local resources. Additional assistance may also be found in our Chronic, Serious, or Life-Threatening Illness DBA page. NeedyMeds also has information on Scholarships for young ALS patients and those otherwise affected by the disease who are determined to continue their education.

Depression Awareness Can Save Lives

While the tragic death of a cultural icon can raise widespread awareness, it is important to know that depression is

Robin Williams1951-2014

Robin Williams
1951-2014

a global issue and that there is help for those affected.

 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 9% of American adults suffer from depression, or chronic feelings of hopelessness, despondency, or isolation. The World Health Organization (WHO) considers the condition a global epidemic with over 350 million people—5% of the world’s population—suffering globally. Depression can be a facet of a larger condition or circumstance such as post-traumatic stress disorder or substance abuse, or it can be the primary diagnosis itself. Depression is involved in more than two-thirds of the suicides that occur in the United States every year and is the leading cause of disability in Americans between ages 15 and 44.

While there are effective treatments for depression, less than half of those affected receive help. Lack of resources or trained health care professionals, as well as a social stigma around mental illness leaves many feeling helpless and lost. With a combination of medication and psychotherapy more than 80% of patients show improvement, though treatment can be as varied as the causes. The high cost of care is just another barrier for some already feeling overwhelmed and stigmatized.

Finding Help on NeedyMeds

On a previous blog post, we shared our Patient Assistance Program listings and Major Depression Resource Page as ways to help bring down medication costs and find assistance. We also have information for over 3000 free, low-cost, or sliding-scale clinics throughout the country that offer counseling or mental health services. Search your zip code for clinics that may offer Counseling/Mental Health Services near you, or call our toll-free helpline for information.

If you or someone you know is suffering from depression, it is important to know that no one is alone in their struggle. Call for assistance, whether help is needed immediately or long-term.

 

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

NeedyMeds Toll-Free Helpline: 1-800-503-6897

All About Juvenile Arthritis

This post was written in collaboration with, and is also available on, ZipTrials.us – your go-to source for top medical news and trending health stories.

As Juvenile Arthritis Awareness Month comes to a close, many still may be unaware of the disease. What are the symptoms? How prevalent is it, and what resources are available for affected children?

xrayThe word “arthritis” is actually a broad term that covers over 100 musculoskeletal disorders, including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Juvenile arthritis is among them. More common than most people think, the condition actually affects almost 300,000 children in the United States. This makes juvenile arthritis more common than juvenile diabetes and cystic fibrosis combined. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), juvenile idiopathic arthritis is one of the most prevalent types of arthritis among people under the age of 18. Other common forms include juvenile rheumatoid arthritis and juvenile chronic arthritis.

 

On the whole, the condition affects girls more often than boys. The CDC also recognizes an increased risk for children with certain genetic make-ups. When it comes to symptoms, the signs may vary from child to child. However, the most common symptom is chronic and persistent joint swelling, pain and stiffness. This typically flares up upon waking in the morning or right after a nap. According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), juvenile arthritis usually affects the knees and the joints in the hands and feet. The NIAMS also recognizes the following common symptoms:

  • Limping (especially upon waking)
  • High fever
  • Skin rash
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck or other parts of the body

 

In terms of treatment, a pediatric rheumatologist may suggest physical therapy, occupational therapy, counseling, medications and more. According to the Arthritis Foundation, effective treatment aims to control inflammation and relieve pain. Maintaining a good quality of life is also key. Common drug treatments include pain relievers, anti-inflammatories, disease-modifying drugs, biologics and corticosteroids.

 

What help is available?

Patient assistance programs may be available for juvenile arthritis medications. The first place to check for assistance would be our Arthritis Disease Information Page. This page has all of the patient assistance programs (PAPs) for arthritis drugs listed in one spot – drug names that are listed in blue link to program information pages; those in black are unfortunately not available through a PAP at this time. We have also highlighted a handful of organizations with information on arthritis:

 

In addition to the Arthritis Disease Information Page, we also have Diagnosis-Based Assistance listings of national and state-specific programs:

 

The programs listed on these pages offer a variety of services, including medical services and expenses, testing, co-payments, equipment and more. We also have nine camps listed for children and young adults with arthritis, that range from three-day retreats to year-round camps.

 

Know of a program we missed? Let us know in the comments or send us an e-mail to info@needymeds.org.

 

 

Resources for Prostate Cancer

According to the National Cancer Institute, Prostate cancer is a cancer that forms in the tissues of the prostate gland that usually affects older men. What is the prostate gland? From the Prostate Cancer Foundation: “The normal prostate is a small, squishy gland about the size of a walnut. It sits under the bladder and in front of the rectum…It seems to supply substances that facilitate fertilization and sperm transit and survival.” Prostate cancer affects 1 in 6 men, making it the most common non-skin cancer in America. There are a number of factors that can increase your risk of prostate cancer, including:

  • Age – More than 65% of all prostate cancers are diagnosed in men over age 65.
  • Race – African-American men are more likely to develop prostate cancer and are 2.5 times more likely to die from the disease.
  • Genetics – You are twice as likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer if your father or brother has the disease.
  • Geography – Living above 40 degrees latitude (north of Philadelphia for example) raises your risk of dying from prostate cancer due to inadequate sunlight, and therefore vitamin D levels, during the winter months.

Symptoms of prostate cancer vary from patient to patient. Common symptoms include frequent urination, difficulty urinating including weak or interrupted flow or painful or burning sensation, and blood in urine or semen among others.

patientdoctorWhat Help is Available?

We have many resources for prostate cancer listed on the NeedyMeds website. Our prostate cancer information page is the best place to start. This page lists all of the patient assistance programs (PAPs) available for prostate cancer medications. We also list a number of organizations dedicated to prostate cancer including the Prostate Cancer Foundation, National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society, and the Prostate Cancer Research Institute among others.

 

In addition to the prostate cancer resource page we also have listings of national and state programs for Cancer, and more specifically Prostate Cancer. The programs listed on these pages cover a wide range of services.

We also have an extensive list of Camps and Scholarships for cancer patients and their families. Know of a program we missed? Let us know in the comments or e-mail us at info@needymeds.org.

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