Concord, N.H., April 7, 2008 – This week, the Partnership for Prescription Assistance – a nationwide effort sponsored by America’s pharmaceutical research companies – is celebrating its third anniversary of helping uninsured and financially-struggling Americans get access to the medicines they need for free or nearly free. Since its launch in April 2005, the PPA has helped nearly 5 million patients nationwide, including more than 20,000 people in New Hampshire. Also in that time, the PPA bus tour, the “Help is Here Express,” has visited all 50 states and more than 2,000 cities to educate people about patient assistance programs.
“For three years, the Partnership for Prescription Assistance has been a resounding success, and it continues to help thousands of patients every day,” said Billy Tauzin, President and CEO of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA). “No one’s helped by a medicine that sits on the shelf and is out of reach financially. We’re not going to stop after three years, and we will keep coming back to New Hampshire as long as there are people who need our help.”
The “Help is Here Express” is staffed by trained specialists able to quickly help uninsured patients in need access information on more than 475 patient assistance programs, including nearly 200 programs offered by pharmaceutical companies. When the “Help is Here Express” moves on, patients can visit PPA’s easy-to-use Web site (www.pparx.org) or call the toll-free phone number (1-888-4PPA-NOW) where trained operators field calls in 150 languages.
“With the number of people affected by chronic disease increasing every year, the PPA and its message of hope is now more relevant than ever,” Tauzin added. According to the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD), a national coalition working to save lives and reduce health care costs through prevention and management of chronic disease, more than 133 million Americans have at least one chronic disease. The Milken Institute along with the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (www.fightchronicdisease.org) note there are more than 680,000 cases of common chronic diseases in New Hampshire , including cancer, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, stroke, mental disorders, and pulmonary conditions.
Chronic diseases are responsible for seven out of every 10 deaths in the United States, in addition to causing a myriad of other health problems. According to the PFCD, these chronic diseases shorten lives, reduce quality of life, and create considerable burdens on caregivers, making it imperative that those who suffer have access to the medicines they need.
“It's time for us to change how we fight this epidemic," said Dr. Paul Antony, Chief Medical Officer of PhRMA. “Chronic disease is a major portion of health care costs, and its rates are rising. We want to do our part to help uninsured and financially-struggling Granite Staters with chronic disease get access to information on programs that offer free or nearly free prescription medicines.”
Chronic disease is an unremitting problem in New Hampshire where more than 73,000 people suffer from heart disease, 52,000 have diabetes and 50,000 are affected by cancer, according to the Milken Institute. However, new medicines are in development to fight chronic disease. America’s pharmaceutical research companies are currently working on 277 life-saving and life-improving medicines for heart disease and stroke, 646 medicines to treat several types of cancer and 95 medicines for diabetes. These innovative medications and treatments, along with improved access to prescription assistance program information through the PPA, may help to reduce the number of deaths caused by chronic disease every year, according to PFCD.
On a national level, the Partnership for Prescription Assistance is represented by Emmy-winning syndicated television talk show host Montel Williams, named PPA’s national spokesman in January 2006. In addition, nationally recognized Telemundo talk show host and author Mayte Prida leads the PPA’s Hispanic outreach effort.
“Since January of 2006, I’ve been traveling the country talking about the Partnership for Prescription Assistance, urging people to make one call that can change their lives and help them afford their prescription medications,” said Williams. “And the word is getting out. But our job is not done; and for the millions still in need of assistance, I urge them to pick up the phone, log on to our Web site or visit the big orange PPA bus to see if they may qualify for assistance.”
“For three years, the PPA has been a concerted and effective effort to reach those who still need help,” said Williams. “And I’m going to do everything I can to get the word out. As a patient who must cope every day with the effects of multiple sclerosis, I understand only too well the importance of having access to the medicine you need.”
More than 1,300 national, state and local partners, including AIDS Response Seacoast, the American Cancer Society, and the American Lung Association in New Hampshire are working with America’s pharmaceutical research companies to spread the word about the program. Trained specialists work with doctors, pharmacists, health care providers and community groups, educating them on the process and use of the PPA’s easy-access Web site and toll-free number.
Over 2,500 different brand-name and generic prescription medicines are available through participating patient assistance programs. In addition, the PPA provides information on nearly 10,000 free health care clinics and has connected more than 135,000 patients with clinics and health care providers in their communities.
To find out if there are patient assistance programs that may meet their needs, patients should call toll-free
1-888-4PPA-NOW (1-888-477-2669) to speak with a trained specialist or visit www.pparx.org.