How to get RX prescriptions cheaper. Part One

in #rx5 years ago (edited)


Nobody should have to make a choice between prescriptions or food or between medication or the rent, but so many Americans are doing exactly that right now. In the arena of medical affordability, modern America has third world problems.

There are tens of millions of Americans who just cannot afford healthcare. They have insufficient insurance coverage, or many have no coverage at all. The prices of some essential medicines are sometimes astronomical.

Patient Assistance Programs Can Help

Luckily there are any patient assistance programs that can help those who cannot afford to pay for their medication.

The name ‘patient assistance programs’ is often shortened to PAPs. The pharmaceutical companies are often the ones who set up these PAPs, but not exclusively.

Sometimes it can be through a corporate philosophy to help those in need. Often it can be a marketing gimmick to push the poorer to use less popular medication that has higher profit margins.

Whatever the motivation, these patient assistance programs are there to help, so why not take advantage?

Billions of dollars of trade have been generated by PAPs. It is quite clearly a great tool for Pharmaceutical companies. It is also quite clearly a great tool for the people who need them the most.

What are the rules? Who can apply?

Anybody can apply. Each PAP has it’s own rules and regulations, so you must do a little research, but all will need an application form to be filled out.

Some PAPs need lengthy detailed applications and some need very little. This is up to each PAP and can vary extensively.

But the one constant is that you must always acquire a doctors signature.

Basic criteria include

  • Be a United States resident or legal citizen
  • Have little or no prescription insurance coverage
  • Have an income right around 200% of the Federal poverty level (see the table below as reference – a little out of date, so check)

How do I receive the medication?

Mostly (though there can be differences in certain instances) the pharmaceutical companies send the medication to the doctor, who then gives the medication to the patient.

Some also send the medication directly to a pharmacist (certain ones that the company works with). Most PAPs will include refills for patients ongoing medical needs.

How do I find out more?

You would think that a doctor would be a good source, but many are not aware that they even exist. Most doctors are so busy that the extra paperwork is something they would prefer to avoid.

Some information is available in local libraries, but as ever, the internet is the best source for current information.

When searching for info make sure to set the time tool to the past year as so much has changed and is constantly changing each year. Much information on the web is too outdated to be of much help.

What websites can you recommend?

There are quite a few websites out there; it can get a bit overwhelming. Start by searching for keywords (search terms) such as “RX assistance” or “RX help” on Google. In part two we will cover this in more detail.


Patient assistance programs are a big help for many in need. In part two, we will cover which medication is included and which websites we recommend, plus how to find coupons.

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