Category: Patient Assistance

Patient Assistance Programs (PAPs)

NeedyMeds was started in 1997 when a family physician and a medical social worker realized there were dozens of pharmaceutical patient assistance programs available, providing medications to those in need at low- or no cost, but no centralized resource for the information.  We became that resource, using the relatively new Internet as the perfect medium for the constantly changing information.  Despite growing significantly since our inception, we still have an expanding database of Patient Assistance Programs (PAPs) to help those unable to cover the costs of prescriptions.

Patient assistance programs are typically run by pharmaceutical companies to help uninsured and underinsured patients get their medication for free or low-cost. There are no regulations or laws dictating that pharmaceutical companies must provide PAPs, so the eligibility requirements often vary from program to program. Most require personal information (full name, address, date of birth, social security number), information from your doctor, and a valid prescription.  Some PAPs require information on insurance status or household income.  When using NeedyMeds,

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Insurers Drop Expensive Medications

It is no secret that drug prices continue to be a problem in the United States. In a previous blog post, we discussed the environment in which skyrocketing drug prices are allowed to take off.  It has continued to be an important subject to Americans and the ongoing presidential campaigns.  The growing issue of medications costs is punctuated with head-spinning facts such as drugs that are $1,000 per pill in the US costing as little as $4 in India, or the life-expectancy is higher in Costa Rica than the United States despite higher income and amount spent on healthcare by Americans.  Some insurance companies are beginning to fight back against pharmaceutical companies pricing by dropping expensive drugs from their covered medications.

The strategy to drop expensive drugs from their formularies was established two years ago by Express Scripts, the largest pharmacy benefit manager in the US, when they announced they would no longer pay for 48 brand-name medications.  This was a result of many medicines raising over 20% in price over the previous year, so Express Scripts stopped paying for them in 2014 and moved their patients

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Cervical Cancer Awareness for the New Year

January is National Cervical Health Awareness Month. With all women being at risk for cervical cancer, it’s important to be mindful of the health risks, symptoms, and resources available to those in need. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates 12,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year, and about 4,000 women die from it annually.

The main cause of cervical cancer is human papillomavirus (HPV), a common virus that can be passed between people during sex. HPV is so common that most people will have it at some point during their lives without ever developing symptoms. About 90% of cases are cleared naturally by the immune system within two years; however, there is no way of knowing which individuals will go on to develop health problems.

Some strains of HPV can cause warts around genitals or in one’s throat, while others can cause normal cells in the body to turn abnormal—possibly leading to cancer over time. Other factors that can increase your risk for cervical cancer are smoking, having HIV, using birth control pills for an extended time (five or more years), or giving birth to three or more children.

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How to Find the Best Prices for Prescriptions

We are almost to 2016, and the high costs of prescriptions are still a huge problem for millions of Americans.  Despite laws like the Affordable Care Act (ACA), drug prices continue to vary and rise in ways that are often too much for patients to navigate.  A recent poll found that a third of those currently taking a medication experienced a spike in price in the past year. Consumer Reports was able to uncover a lot of information with a national price scan of five common generic drugs. With their findings in mind, there are tips one can follow to get lower prices and better deals on needed medication.

=&0=&  Even pharmacies within a few miles of each other can vary widely in price, sometimes by hundreds of dollars.  Furthermore, chain drugstores consistently charged the most among the medications and locations polled. Independent and local mom-and-pop pharmacies were found to have bargains on prescriptions, and sometimes are flexible to match or beat competitor prices. =&1=&  Many chain stores offer common generics at prices as low as $4-$15 for a 30- to 90- day supply when people pay out of pocket.  NeedyMeds has a database of locations and medications available through these discount programs. Sometimes pharmacists will insist you must use your health insurance, even it the price is higher than the cash price or the price with the NeedyMeds drug discount card. They are wrong – you never have to use your health insurance if you can get a better price not using it. =&2=&  For drugs you will be taking long term, getting enough medicine to last three months as opposed to one can be cheaper.  We mentioned the discount programs available above, and for those using insurance it would equate to only one copay instead of three. =&3=&  It may seem awkward or something better used at a car dealership, but Consumer Reports found that pharmacists either have some flexibility when asked or are able to find a coupon or card that can bring down the price, or offer one of the discount programs they may have available for those not using insurance. =&4=& Read more

National Diabetes Awareness Month

November is National Diabetes Awareness Month.  In previous blog posts, we have offered tips for prevention and saving costs.  We have also held special topic webinars on empowering patients to self-manage their diabetes.

In the United States, nearly 30 million people are diagnosed with diabetes, with another 86 million Americans at risk for type 2 diabetes; that’s nearly one out of every 11 people with diabetes, with 1 out of 4 unaware they have the condition.  Awareness of the disease can not only prevent future cases for those at risk, but also help raise funds to develop new treatments for those living with diabetes.

There are different types of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes presents with the body not making insulin, and those diagnosed must take insulin injections every day. Only 5% of those diagnosed with diabetes have type 1, and there is no known method to cure or prevent type 1 diabetes.  With type 2 diabetes, one’s body doesn’t use insulin well and is unable to keep blood sugar at normal levels. Type 2 diabetes has a number of risk factors:

  • Being overweight;
  • Being 45 years or older;
  • Having a parent or sibling diagnosed with type 2 diabetes;
  • Being physically active less than 3 times per week.

Race and ethnicity also can affect one’s risk.  African Americans,

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About Us

Welcome to the NeedyMeds Voice! We look forward to presenting you with timely, provocative pieces on healthcare reform, patient advocacy, medication and healthcare access, and other health-related news. Our goals are to educate, enlighten, and elucidate; together, we will try to make sense of the myriad and ongoing healthcare-related changes in the U.S. today.