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RX ‘R’ Us

This story was published August 5, 2005, during an internship at Richmond.com.

The Partnership for Prescription Assistance (PPARx) , a nationwide program designed to help patients without prescription coverage get the medications they need, launched its Virginia chapter Thursday morning. As a chapter of the national program, PPARx Virginia will provide a single point of access that will aid in providing nearly 2,500 prescription drugs to people in need. Jane Woods , Virginia Secretary of Health and Human Resources, said, “The sad news is that about a seventh of our population is uninsured, a tragedy… but one about which we can do something! Of that seventh, which is close to a million Virginians, we estimate that about 25 to 30 percent of those folks have to choose [between] food, paying for electricity to keep the air moving and buying meds. Here in America, that is simply not acceptable.”

Patients are eligible for PPARx aid based on their age or income. Some patients qualify for private programs that offer prescription medicines for free or nearly free. One of PPARx’s objectives is to bring together biopharmaceutical research companies, doctors and other healthcare providers, patient advocacy organization and community groups to help locate the right program for citizens in need. Dr. Daniel Jannuzzi , medical director for Cross Over Ministry , said, “By working together, we hope to build a more healthy community, to reduce health disparities and to alleviate the unnecessary suffering and premature death that the poor all too often suffer in our society.

“As you know, about 20 percent of Virginians aged 18 to 24 have no health insurance,” he continued. “The lack of health insurance means a lack of prescription drug coverage and this erects a major barrier to life-enhancing therapy to those in need. In Richmond alone we have perhaps 40,000 to 50,000 residents who are low income and without insurance who struggle every month to afford their medications.”

PPARx has worked to gain sponsorship and partner status with various programs. To date, their list of partners includes the American Lung Association , the American Cancer Society , the Virginia Center on Aging and the Fan Free Clinic , among others.

“The Partnership for Prescription Assistance of Virginia provides a single point of access – those are magical words to all of us – to more than 475 public and private patient assistance programs, including more than 180 programs offered by the pharmaceutical companies,” Woods said.

“Together, the assistance programs will offer access to nearly 2,500 brand-name medicines and a wide range of generic medications…We’re only as strong as those who are having the hardest time in every community in Virginia, so the stronger we are together – through partnerships – the better Virginians will be.” If you do not have prescription coverage and are having trouble affording your medications, call the Partnership for Prescription Assistance at (888) 477-2669 or visit www.pparx.org. You should be ready to provide your age, zip code, estimated gross annual household income, number of people living in your household and the brand name of any medications you are currently taking.

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