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

Read more

2014 was an exciting year for us. We grew in many ways: more staff, new programs, new information, and increasing savings with our drug discount card. We are looking forward to even more in 2015.

Here are just a few of the changes we expect to see:

  • $4 generic drug information — Very soon we will be adding information on all the “$4 generic” programs in the country. The name – “$4 generic” – is a little misleading. It will include all the pharmacy programs that offer very inexpensive or even free medicines.
  • Generic Assistance Program — We are looking to expand the program to cover more people. To do this we need your help. You can make a donation on our HEALfundr campaign or by signing the “Access Our Medicine” declaration. Each signer we get results in another 50¢ for GAP.
  • Access Our Medication — We are proud to be working with the Mindset Foundation to publicize the problem of medication affordability. They have many events planned for 2015 and NeedyMeds will be a part of them.
  • Imaging Studies Database — You will be hearing more and more about medical consumerism in 2015. NeedyMeds will be helping people make sound financial healthcare decisions. Our first step will be our Imaging Studies database. It will contain the cash prices for 20 common outpatient x-ray, CT, MRI and ultrasound procedures at centers across the country. This database will appear soon and we will be adding more centers every day.
  • Hepatitis C testing facilities — By partnering with the Hep C Alliance of Missouri, we will be listing low- or no cost sources of hepatitis C testing throughout the country.
  • HEALfundr — We expect to see more use of our medical crowdfunding website. We are working on a number of campaigns to add.
  • Volunteer Ambassador Program — We hope to expand our cadre of volunteers who help spread the word about NeedyMeds and all we offer.
  • Heightened visibility — Our goal is to double the number of daily visitors from 8,000-10,000 each workday.
  • A new office — We have outgrown our current office and plan on moving to an office three times the size by March.
  • Call center expansion — We will be adding more staff to our call center so we can better handle all the helpline calls we receive.
  • Drug Discount Card — The growth of our card and the savings it provides continues to grow. We expect this to continue in 2015.

I could go on as we have a lot more planned—but I won’t. To accomplish our goals we need your help and support.  The most important thing you can do is tell your friends, family, colleagues, doctors; share NeedyMeds with just about anyone.

But we need more than that—we need your financial support. Sign the “Access Our Medicine” declaration. Each signature gets us a small donation. If you can afford it, make a donation to NeedyMeds or a HEALfundr campaign. Use our drug discount card to save on your prescriptions and help support us.

2014 was a good year for us, but 2015 will be even better.

Rich Sagall, MD, a retired family physician, is the president and founder of NeedyMeds, a national non-profit that has information on programs that help people in medical need. He is also the editor and publisher of Pediatrics

Read more

We’re wrapping up 2014 here at NeedyMeds, and it’s been a big year for us. We have kept true to our original mission to provide information on programs that help people who can’t afford medications and healthcare costs, and have expanded in the interest of offering more direct assistance to those in need.

The year started with a redesign of our website. Later that January, we launched a unique crowdfunding platform called HEALfundr. Using HEALfundr, people can raise funds for verified medical expenses that will be paid directly with the crowd-raised funds. HEALfundr is the only crowdfunding platform to verify campaigns and pay bills directly, giving confidence to donors that they will not be victimized by fraud and relieving the stress of handling incoming and outgoing funds for those in need.

This past May we released a new web-based tutorial for those looking to learn how to find help for patients facing problems affording their medicine or other healthcare costs called Patient

Read more

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’

Read more