Prescription Drug Patient Assistance Programs - Free or Low Cost Medications

Authored By: Legal Hotline for Older Iowans LSC Funded


Having a tough time stretching your budget to pay for expensive medications? A Prescription Drug Patient Assistance Program may help.

  • Several drug companies provide prescription medicines at low cost or free of charge to doctors with needy patients.
  • Companies that provides this kind of assistance have their own rules to participate.

America's pharmaceutical research companies sponsor the Partnership for Prescription Assistance (PPARx).

  • This program helps uninsured and low income Americans.
  • It has information about programs that provide prescription medicines free or at a reduced cost.
  • You give a list of your prescription medications, your basic information and your current drug coverage.
  • The system can tell you what patient assistance program you may be eligible for, and how to apply.
  • There are many different programs and a large number of medications available.
  • You can access the service - free of charge - by visiting the PPARx website at or by calling 888-4PPA-NOW (888-477-2669).

To apply for one or more of these programs, you must work with your doctor.

  • You need to provide your doctor with information required by each Patient Assistance Program that covers a medicine you need.
  • Your doctor needs to:
    • Sign your application form
    • Add prescription information or an actual prescription
    • And sometimes mailing or faxing the application on your behalf.
  • If you meet the program's requirements, the company will either send the medicine to your doctor's office or directly to your home.
  • Some programs mail you a pharmacy card that you can use to get your free or low cost medicines at your local pharmacy.

There are many programs and each has its own rules for eligibility.

  • Some programs require that a patient's income be below federal poverty guidelines.
  • Others determine eligibility on a case-by-case basis.
  • You may find that you are eligible for some programs but not others.
  • You should ask your doctor to help you apply to all programs that provide assistance for the medicines you take, especially the ones that cost more.
  • If PPARx does not have a program for the medicine you need, check with the manufacturer of the drug to see if they have a Patient Assistance Program.
  • You should request an application and information on eligibility requirements
  • You need to work with your doctor to file the application and receive the medicine.

Remember, the PPARx is a free service.

  • There are other companies that offer to connect you to the same programs and charge you money.
  • Some of these programs may use the PPARx name.
  • The service offered directly through the Partnership for Prescription Assistance is offered completely free of charge.

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Last Review and Update: Aug 17, 2011

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