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If you regularly take prescription medications to stay healthy or minimize the symptoms of a disease, you may be worried about the extra expense of buying those medications every month. Government benefits like Medicaid, CHIP, and Medicare Part D can help keep costs low, but many people don’t know that there are plenty of non-government programs you can participate in for free or discounted medication, whether or not you receive help from the government. Here are just a few ways you can get access to free or discounted prescriptions:

 

Dispensary of Hope – Dispensary of Hope is a non-profit organization with a national network of medication dispensing sites. This NGO collects a donated, surplus stock of medicine and medical supplies, and then redistributes these supplies to their distribution centers. The program gives out close to 100,00 prescriptions a year in 30 states.

Publix – If you live near a Publix with a pharmacy, you can get free medication at your local grocery store. Commonly prescribed medications – specifically Amlodipine, Lisinopril, Metformin, and Montelukast—are completely free. If you have diabetes, high blood pressure, allergies or asthma, and you take one of these medications, you can take advantage of this program.

Patient Assistance Programs – These are programs created by pharmaceutical companies, which provide free or low cost drugs to those who cannot afford the regular cost of their medication. Numerous non-profits provide comprehensive, up-to-date information on these programs, and help you navigate which one(s) will be right for you. Since most pharmaceutical companies participate in programs like this, almost all brand name drugs are covered.

(1) Rx Assist was founded by Volunteers in Health Care, and offers a comprehensive database of patient assistant programs – search by medication, brand, or company name to find programs specific to the medication you need.

(2) NeedyMeds is another non-profit that provides over 4,000 drugs/dosages for free or at a lower price. They also maintain a huge suppository of information on assistance programs, state assistance, and free or low-cost medical care.

(3) Partnership for Prescription Assistance offers prescription help, as well as help finding free or low cost clinics near you. Just enter the name of a drug, or a zip code and get started. They offer access to more than 475 public and private program, 200 of which are offered specifically by biopharmaceutical companies.

 

Although there is an income threshold for patient assistance programs, there are always exceptions. Even if you have insurance, or if you don’t meet the income threshold, a patient assistance program will take your specific situation of hardship into consideration. In addition, local private foundations and charities may help with unaffordable co-pays.

It’s important to stay healthy, so don’t procrastinate in buying or taking necessary medications. Use the programs and sites listed above to get access to them, and keep living the best life you possible can.