NACES - Resources - Medicine
Getting Help with Medicines

This leaf of the Quality of Life Tree gives you information on where to find help and support to pay for the medicine your doctor prescribes. The information and resources below can help you get the medicine you need when you cannot afford them. Some things to keep in mind before you start search are:

  • The price of prescription medicine is very different from store to store. This is true for generic drugs as well as brand name drugs.

  • A prescription for one of your medicines may cost $50 at Store #1, $80 at Store #2, $40 at Store #3 and $20 at Store #4.

  • Another medicine may be twice as much at Store #1 than it is at Store #2 or Store #3.

  • It always pays to call the different pharmacies to compare prices before you drop off your prescription.
Hint: This is a task you could ask one of your family members or friends to help you with. They can start the call to the pharmacy by saying something like:

    "My grandmother has cancer and doesn't have much money. I'm trying to find out the price of her medicines to help her get them at the lowest possible cost."
In order to get the exact cost of the medicine from the pharmacy whoever is making the calls should know:
  • the name of the medicine(s)
  • the exact dosage(s)
  • and how many times a day you need to take each medicine
It can also help to ask directly,

"Does this medicine or its generic version fit under any low cost prescription program your store offers?"

Wal-Mart, K-Mart and Costco Stores offer many generic prescription drug programs at very low cost. Each of these stores has a different list of medicines that fit under their special low-cost programs.

  • If the generic version of your medicine in on the list at one of these stores you can get a 3 month supply of the medicine for a total of $12 - $15 dollars.
  • You do not need to fill out paperwork, sign up for any program or meet any special eligibility.
  • If your prescription for generic medicine is not on the list at one of these stores check with another.
  • You do not need to be a member of Costco to buy prescription drugs there.
These wonderful, new programs are an incredible gift to people and are helping many people get access to medicine that could not afford it before.

If your provider prescribes a medicine that you find you cannot afford:

  • Tell the pharmacist. Many times they can give you advice about how to get the medicine free or at reduced cost.
  • Call your provider right away. Tell your provider you went to the pharmacy and discovered that medicine was too expensive for you to buy.
  • Ask if they have samples and if they can help you get the medicine any other way.
  • Many drug companies have special programs to help people get the medicine they cannot afford for free or at very low cost. Below are some more resources to check into for help in getting your medicine.
Patient Assistance Programs are offered by some pharmaceutical manufacturers to help pay for medications. To learn whether a specific drug might be available at reduced cost through such a program, talk with your provider or social worker or visit the drug manufacturer's Web site. Most pharmaceutical companies will have a section titled "patient assistance programs" on their Web site.

Partnership for Prescription Assistance
The Partnership for Prescription Assistance (PPA), is a national program to help patients in need access prescription medicines. The PPA also connects patients with free health clinics in their community. The PPA provides help with more than 2,500 medicines, including a wide range of generic medicines.
Telephone: 1-888-4PPA-NOW (1-888-477-2669)
Web site:

Patient Advocate Foundation (PAF) Co-Pay Relief Program provides limited payment assistance for medicine to insured patients who financially and medically qualify. For more information about the Co-Pay Relief Program,
Telephone: 1-866-512-3861
Web site:

NeedyMeds is a 501(3)(c) nonprofit organization with the mission of helping people who cannot afford medicine or health care costs. The information at NeedyMeds can be obtained anonymously and is free of charge. NeedyMeds is an information source similar to the Yellow Pages; it does not supply medications or financial assistance, but helps people find assistance programs and other available resources.
Web site:

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