All About Patient Assistance Programs

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 (at the time) 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 funded 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, you can find the program’s requirements listed on the program information page as well as the downloadable application for the PAP if available.


Patient assistance program information remains one of the primary resources we offer at NeedyMeds, with callers to our toll-free helpline being referred to over 28,000 PAPs in 2021 alone. We list PAPs on our website by both Brand Name and Generic drugs, and we currently list nearly 4,700 medications with at least one program offering them for low- or no-cost.


Every day at NeedyMeds, our team of researchers work on database listings of patient assistance programs, contacting the programs directly to update information, and getting the latest application forms. To help patients and advocates stay up-to-date on the latest changes and new programs, we developed Patient Assistance Program Update Service (PAPUS) — a daily and weekly email notifying subscribers of the changes made to PAPs.


Applying to patient assistance programs can be very time-consuming, particularly for advocates and healthcare professionals with many patients applying to multiple programs. We offer PAPTracker, a piece of software for agencies, doctor’s offices, and social welfare organizations that simplifies this process. PAPTracker takes patient and doctor information and, using our database of patient assistance programs, creates completed PAP applications ready to be sent to the programs. We offer a 30-day free trial of the software, as well as a grant program to use the software at a reduced cost (PAPTracker is not for individuals).


NeedyMeds exists to help those struggling with the high costs of medicine and medical care. You can search your medication in the Drug Search on the NeedyMeds website, or call our toll-free helpline (800-503-6897) for more assistance finding a program that can help.

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