Medicines can only work in patients who can take them. If we have medicines today to treat people and they can’t access them, then we have to make changes. That’s why we launched the Access Our Medicine Initiative. The Access Our Medicine Initiative launched in April 2014 inviting people to sign an online declaration with a simple statement – that everyone should have access to affordable medicine. Since then, over 75,000 people from 160 countries and a diverse range of organizations representing more than 400 million people have signed the Declaration at www.accessourmedicine.com. Why are so many people interested? Even with the Affordable Care Act, over 30 million Americans will not be able to afford their medicine. People are making sacrifices for their medicine,

or are risking their health by sacrificing their medicine. Nobody should have to choose between filling prescriptions and buying groceries. As part of the Access Our Medicine Initiative, we want to support critical organizations such as NeedyMeds offering immediate support to those patients and families needing access to medicine. I’m grateful to have NeedyMeds’ support on the Access Our Medicine Declaration and I find it particularly important to support their Generic Assistance Program. The Generic Assistance Program is more critical than ever with the shocking rise in generic drug prices. A few weeks ago CBS News covered the story of patient Barbara Heller whose cost for one 3-month refill for a generic medicine went from $94 to $1,212 this year. The rise in prices is such…

As declared by the UN, today was International Day of Persons with Disabilities. Started in 1992, the observance day aims to promote understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights, and well-being of those with disabilities. With one billion people worldwide experiencing some sort of disability, the day can have an important impact on many who experience difficulties every day. In honor with the international observance, we at NeedyMeds want to share the resources available for people with disabilities in the United States. The UN theme for 2014 is “Sustainable Development: The Promise of Technology.” In a previous blog post, we covered state grants that are available to those in need of assistive technology. We also have information on over 20

national organizations offering financial assistance to those requiring assistive technology, and many more serving regional areas. For those less suited to technology, there are programs offering assistance dogs to those suffering from various disabilities and conditions. As technology and assistance animals can improve the quality of one’s life, worthwhile experiences can also enhance the lives of those with disabilities. With almost 200 camps for those with physical disabilities and over 100 for those with developmental challenges, people of all ages all over the country can go on retreats with peers they can relate to and professionals familiar with their care. NeedyMeds also has information on scholarships for people with disabilities who pursue a higher education. As a group, persons with disabilities are more likely to experience…

November 2014 has been proclaimed as National Family Caregivers Month by President Barack Obama to “pay tribute to those who provide for the health and well-being of their family members, friends, and neighbors.” In honor of the over 60 million caregivers in the United States, we are focusing this week’s blog post on resources for these strong and selfless individuals. Whether you are taking care of the young or elderly; the ill, injured, or disabled; the difficulty of the work, while rewarding, can be draining. Respite care services (outlined here by StuffSeniorsNeed.com) can help allay the exhaustion and give a well-deserved break to caregivers. In 2006, the Lifespan Respite Care Program was authorized by Congress and has since been implemented in 30 states. Funded by federal grants

from the Administration for Community Living and the Administration on Aging, the program has expanded access to respite care for caregivers of patients of all ages. Caregivers of veterans are eligible for support from the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). In addition to respite care, VA Caregiver Services include home-based healthcare for those in need. Respite services and home-based healthcare are also offered by a number of organizations that can be found by searching for “Respite Care” and/or “Home Care” under Services Provided in our Diagnosis-Based Assistance database, though is not offered for all diagnoses. Caregivers act as both healthcare provider and advocate for the person in their charge, and can be a financial resource when savings and social security are not an…

Plus: How to lower your drug costs Americans take a lot of medicines – and many resort to risky behaviors to afford them. That’s according to a recent national telephone poll by public-education project Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs.  Forty-four percent of Americans take an average of 4.5 prescription drugs; 16 percent say they take 7 or more. To afford those medications, more than half (57 percent) of those polled reported taking steps in the last year—some of them potentially dangerous—to curb high drug costs. That included not filling a prescription (17 percent), skipping a scheduled dose (14 percent), and taking an expired medication (14 percent). The cost of medications affect people’s wallets in other ways, too. Three in 10 (29 percent) reported cutting

back on entertainment and dining out; 19 percent spent less on groceries, and 15 percent put off paying other bills in order to afford their prescription drugs. And, people without drug coverage from their insurance were hit the hardest. What to do if you face high costs Don’t wait for your doctor to bring up the cost of medications—he or she may not. Instead,  ask about generics, whether you can stop taking drugs you no longer need, and whether it’s safe to split your pills in half. Also ask about over-the-counter options and nondrug treatments since some may be safer and less expensive over time, and might work just as well as prescription medications. For example, Consumer Reports’ subscribers said in a survey they found massage,…

Children going back to school and a cold wind starting to blow are signifiers of the impending cold and flu season. This year’s may seem particularly daunting due to exotic diseases appearing in the news and the spread of enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) affecting hundreds of families throughout the United States. With all of this in mind, NeedyMeds wanted to give our readers some helpful tips to keep themselves and their children healthy, along with resources available for those in need. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough and sneeze. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow. This will reduce the spread of germs through touching objects or one’s face. Wash hands often, especially after blowing your nose or

coughing. The Center of Disease Control (CDC) suggests washing using warm water and soap, and scrubbing for at least 20 seconds and drying with a single-use towel. Tell your children to sing "Happy Birthday" twice while washing—that takes about 20 seconds. Regularly disinfect common surfaces in your home that your family touches every day, including countertops, telephones, computers, faucets, and doorknobs. Ensure your family eats a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, gets plenty of rest, and exercises regularly. These steps will keep your immune system in prime shape to help fight off illness. Know the difference between a cold and the flu. The flu generally comes on strong with severe symptoms, including fever, sore throat, chills, body aches, cough, runny/stuffy…