Free Medicine Foundation Issues Urgent Call: Apply Now for Before Drug Company Changes Make Getting Free or Low Cost Drugs More Difficult

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With drug costs skyrocketing, the threshold income level cutting off the haves and have-nots is steadily climbing. A Missouri foundation steps into the gap by helping qualified applicants find appropriate, industry-approved free or low-cost medicine programs.

The Free Medicine Foundation is issuing a public advisory warning potential applicants of changes coming to drug plans offered by pharmaceutical companies as early as March 31. Lately the foundation has been stepping up their efforts to ensure people are not denied the medications they need simply because of an inability to pay. Since 1993, the FMF, staffed by volunteers, has been a health-care consumer advocate, matching patients with free access to low or no cost brand name drugs through medication discount programs. These plans, while available and financed by the drug companies, remain a secret to many who need the help.

With the advent of Medicare Part D, many companies are making changes to their discount programs, ending coverage for some drugs and switching benefits for many others. Now more than ever the Free Medicine Foundation stands ready to help potential applicants through an increasingly difficult maze. If an applicant needs a medication on a soon-to-be-discontinued plan, foundation volunteers will search for similar drugs available from other company plans. Drug Companies initially moved to end the discount plans because of a Department of Health and Human Services directive that providing free medicine may be seen as a way for the companies to influence which Medicare plans patients enroll in. However, even after a January 25 clarification in which Medicare said assistance plans do not violate federal guidelines, many companies, such as GlaxoSmithKline, still plan to end their charity programs.

Prescription drug costs are increasing at a continuously and alarming rate and it's no longer just the destitute having to choose between food, rent or medicine. Seniors, the disabled, and working families of ever-higher income levels are finding the medications they depend on priced beyond their means. With this week's latest round of cuts to Medicaid passed by the House, the Kaiser Foundation estimates that nearly 90% of those cut will not regain adequate access to the medical system. In this escalating cycle, programs touted by the Free Medicine Foundation are vital.

Free Medicine Foundation works to match patients to hundreds of free or low-cost available programs by scouring available medicine plans to find plans that match applicant needs. Applicants should have a list of medications handy and either apply on line or download an Adobe Acrobat application form. To apply, simply complete the initial application form at http://www.freemedicinefoundation.com/application_form.html and send refundable $5 processing fee per drug requested to Free Medicine Foundation. The reply address is: Free Medicine Foundation, P. O. Box 125, Doniphan, Missouri, Postal Code 63935-0125.

Approvals are handled on a case-by-case basis. In general, applicants should:

● have no insurance coverage for outpatient prescription drugs;

● not qualify for a government program which provides for prescription medication, e.g. Medicaid;

● be at an income level where buying prescription medication at a retail pharmacy causes a hardship, depending on various factors, the range can extend as high as $60,000 annually.

If the foundation cannot match a client with an appropriate drug discount plan, they will gladly refund the $5 application fee per guarantee.

For more information on the program, please visit http://www.freemedicinefoundation.com/application_form.html. To become a volunteer, visit: http://www.freemedicinefoundation.com/volunteers_needed.html.

Contact:

Cindy Randolph

Free Medicine Foundation

1-888-812-5152

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Cindy Randolph