Thousands Join Good Days and Urge the Federal Government to Protect Charitable Patient Assistance

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6,000 Americans Sign Open Letter to Ask Government Leaders to Ensure Access to Care

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“Charities such as ours are in a unique position and have a responsibility to the patients who desperately need our assistance,” said Clorinda Walley, president of Good Days.

More than 6,000 individual Americans who have been impacted by or who personally rely on charitable patient assistance have signed an open letter to urge the federal government to protect the programs provided by national nonprofit organizations such as Good Days.

For more than 30 years, patient assistance organizations have acted as a safety net for people with rare and chronic illnesses — ensuring access to treatments and bridging gaps in care. But the safety net those nonprofits provide is under threat. There is no policy to fix the holes in government-sponsored health insurance plans that patient assistance charities were established to address, yet the government is endangering their programs and the chronically ill patients who are unable to afford life-sustaining medical treatment.

“Charities such as ours are in a unique position and have a responsibility to the patients who desperately need our assistance,” said Clorinda Walley, president of Good Days. “We look forward to the opportunity to collaborate with the federal government to further ensure access to care for patients in vital need of their medicine and treatments.”

Good Days shared the open letters with the offices of government leaders with oversight of the issues that charitable assistance organizations face, including U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar; Senator Chuck Grassley, Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee; Senator Diane Feinstein, Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee; Congressman Bob Goodlatte, Chairman, House Judiciary Committee; and Congressman Jerry Nadler, Ranking Member, House Judiciary Committee.

Pharmaceutical companies once assisted Medicare beneficiaries through their own patient assistance programs because Medicare did not broadly cover outpatient prescription drugs. The passage of Medicare Part D in 2003 established coverage for pharmaceutical costs and allowed for non-profit patient-advocacy groups to establish co-pay funds that could be funded by the pharmaceutical industry. Since many of the prescriptions to treat chronic conditions like cancer are expensive specialty medications with no generic equivalent, charitable patient assistance programs became the sole vehicle through which needy Medicare beneficiaries could receive co-pay assistance.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has issued guidance to these charities so that they can operate according to best practices. This has led to the establishment of safeguards to prevent outside influence on patient and provider choices of treatments. Importantly, before a person receives charitable assistance, they have already met with a physician, been given a diagnosis, and prescribed a therapy plan. It is only after this point that a patient can seek to obtain charitable assistance.
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Good Days is a national, independent 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization that makes life-saving and life-extending treatments affordable. Since 2003, Good Days has provided more than 800,000 grants and helped more than 500,000 people with access to healthcare resources.

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Justin Wilson

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