- Prescription Drug Assistance Programs
- If you want help paying for your prescriptions
- If you are age 55 or older
- If you have Medicare or are eligible for Medicare
- If you have limited income and no drug coverage
- If you have health insurance
- If you want to learn more about Medicaid
- Tips to save money on prescription drugs
- If you are thinking about buying drugs online
- Other ideas to explore
- Applying for a patient drug assistance program
- If you don’t live in the United States
- To learn more
Applying for a patient drug assistance program
Please know that each pharmaceutical (drug) company with a patient assistance program sets requirements for its own program. The requirements vary from one company to the next, but in general, you are more likely to qualify if:
- You are not covered by a private insurance plan that pays for your prescription drugs.
- You do not qualify for any government (state or federal) program that will pay for your prescription drugs.
- Payment for your prescription drugs at the retail price will cause you a financial hardship.
- You complete their application process and give the company all the required information.
Some programs allow your doctor to simply write a letter stating that you have a financial hardship. This is where your doctor can play a key role in the application process.
How to apply to a drug assistance program
Get copies of the application forms.
First you will need to get an application for each program you wish to apply to. If you are taking more than one drug, you can apply to more than one program. (You can get the applications by printing them from the Web sites or calling the phone numbers listed in the “If you want help paying for your prescriptions” section.)
Follow instructions carefully.
After you have the application forms, read and follow the instructions on each form very carefully. For the most part, they will need your name, address, and contact information.
Some forms request proof of income, and you must provide this to get help. It can usually be copies of your paycheck stubs for the past 3 months, last year’s income tax form, a social security benefit letter, or other proof of income listed on the instructions.
You must answer each question. If you do not, the application might be rejected.
Ask your doctor to help.
Take each application form to your doctor. He or she will need to fill in medical information, including a prescription for your drugs. Sometimes your doctor will only have to write a letter on his or her stationery explaining why you need help.
Mail the forms to the drug companies.
Be sure that your doctor’s office mails the forms to each drug company. If you mail the forms yourself, be sure to include the prescriptions that go with each application.
The drug company will review and decide whether to approve your application. If approved, the drugs are mailed within a few weeks, usually to your doctor’s office, at no cost to you. Your doctor will give them to you.
Re-apply for refills.
To keep the supply of drugs coming, you will need to re-apply along with a new prescription from your doctor a few weeks before you run out of the drug. Some drug companies will include a renewal application in your shipment; with others might require you to call for a renewal form. It’s up to you to submit your refill request in time.
- Remember that drug companies rely on your doctor’s recommendations, so your doctor plays a key role in your getting accepted. If your doctor doesn’t know about these programs, ask him or her to call the assistance program you are looking at.
- Make a copy of all the forms and letters before mailing them. Keep your copies in a safe place so that you can use them to fill out the renewal request.
- If a drug company doesn’t approve your application, ask your doctor to prescribe a different or generic medicine, and then re-apply to the new drug company.
Last Medical Review: 10/25/2012
Last Revised: 02/01/2013