Helping indigent patients obtain medications
Pharmaceutical companies, through detailers and assistance programs, offer resources for helping our financially strapped patients.
Drug company representatives. Doctors may consider visits from drug reps a waste of time, but we can give the coupons and free drug samples they offer to indigent, disabled, or working-poor patients who often cannot afford the psychotropics they need.
To make meetings with detailers more productive:
- Be clear about your needs, expectations, and how much time you are willing to spend.
- Be frank about whether you want to hear about studies. Tell the detailer that you’ll accept information by request only.
- State specific dates and times you are available.
- Request coupons for patients whose medication samples are likely to be lost or stolen.
Patient assistance programs. Pharmaceutical companies’ assistance programs provide deeply discounted drugs to patients in need (Box). The paperwork to qualify takes minutes for clinician and patient to fill out, and many forms are available online or via fax.
Pharmaceutical companies’ patient assistance programs
Ortho McNeil Pharmaceutical
Merck and Co.
Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.
Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp.