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Medicine Assistance

Paying for Cancer and pain medications may be very costly.  Medicaid and some private insurances pay for a portion of the cost of medications.  Medicare offers Part D.  You can read more about it here:
--> Medicare Part D

Some of you may not be able to afford the benefit and medicine copays in this program, but there are many states in the US that offer financial assistance to low income people.  Check with your state's Medicaid resources. You may also want to ask your doctor to give you a sample of the medicine.  I always ask and about 50% of the time I am able to get a limited quantity.  This helps if you are starting a new medication.  If you have adverse side effects or problems with the medicine, at least you haven't had to pay for a month's supply.

There are programs available to help you pay for medications and copays.  Some pharmacies, insurance companies, and other organizations (i.e. AARP, AAA) can offer a discount on medications at your pharmacy.  Ask your pharmacist about any programs they allow.  If you are a veteran of the US military service, please check with your local VA to see if you qualify for benefits.  Some pharmaceutical companies offer free medications to those who meet their income requirements.  You may qualify for one of these programs.  Here are some resources for information on patient assistance programs sponsored by the pharmaceutical companies and other discounts that may help you pay for medications:

Access to Benefits Coalition

Parternership for Prescription Assistance

NORD - National Organization of Rare Diseases

Needy Meds

State Pharmaceutical Assistance Programs

If you have having problems with only the co-pay portion of your prescription, you may want to talk to the representatives at the various pharmaceutical programs.  You can also view these additional assistance programs:

Financial Assistance For Transplant Patients - If you have had a bone marrow or cord blood transplant.

Health Well Express - You may receive assistance if you have any of the cancers listed on this page.

Patient Advocate Program - Co-Pay Relief

RxAssist - Help with copays.

If you are enrolled in a clinical trial for an experimental medication, that medication is free during your participation in the trial.  Some companies continue supplying you free medication after the completion of the trial.  Often other medical care associated with the illness being treated will be paid for by the researchers also.  You can read more about clinical trials in Treatments section of this website.

You may also hear the phrase compassionate use when people are discussing the cost or availability of medicines.  Compassionate use refers to drug companies who are involved in research for a new medication.  They sometimes make these drugs available to an individual outside of the clinical trial setting and prior to the drug's approval by the FDA.  This type of program is usually available to patients with advanced or terminal cancers only; but it can't hurt to ask the pharmaceutical company if you fit their guidelines.  You can read more about these programs at the FDA's Access to Unapproved Drugs, Outside of a Clinical Trial page.