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'Help is Here Express' Bus Tour in California to Help Fire Victims Access Prescription Medicines

WASHINGTON, Nov. 5 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- For the next two weeks, the "Help is Here Express" national bus tour will be in wildfire-ravaged areas of Southern California, attempting to help uninsured and under-insured victims access the medicines they need. The first stop will be from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. today at St. Peter's Catholic Community Church in Fallbrook, CA.

This marks the seventh time the Partnership for Prescription Assistance (PPA), a nationwide effort sponsored by America's pharmaceutical research companies, has been to California. The PPA is a national clearinghouse and a single point of access to more than 475 patient assistance programs -- including nearly 200 sponsored by pharmaceutical companies -- which provide free or nearly free medicines to eligible patients in need. Patients can find out in 10 to 15 minutes free of charge if they may qualify for assistance. So far, the PPA has helped more than 250,000 Californians in a little over two years. Nationwide, it has helped more than 4.3 million patients.

In addition to help from the PPA, America's pharmaceutical research companies have already contributed millions of dollars in cash and products to California's fire victims in an effort spearheaded by three California-based companies -- Amgen Inc., Amylin Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and Valeant Pharmaceuticals International. Other companies making contributions include Abbott, AstraZeneca LP, Eli Lilly and Company, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Novo Nordisk Inc., Pfizer Inc, Hoffman-LaRoche Inc, Schering-Plough Corporation, Takeda Pharmaceuticals North America, Inc., Wyeth, Otsuka America, Inc. and Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals. The donations have been made to a wide range of organizations, including the American Red Cross, AmeriCares, Project Hope, BIOCOM's Fire Relief Biotech Recovery Response Fund, the Southern California Wildfire Relief Fund, the After-the-Fires Fund and Direct Relief International.

The national PPA bus tour has visited all 50 states and more than 1,500 towns and cities to raise awareness about patient assistance programs. More than 1,300 local, state and national partners -- including the California Arthritis Foundation, La Raza Network and NAMI California -- are also working with pharmaceutical research companies to spread the word.

"We are committed to helping uninsured Southern California fire victims who have lost access to the medicines they need to fight disease and illness," Billy Tauzin, PhRMA president and CEO, said today. "The 'Help is Here Express' will be traveling throughout the areas devastated by wildfires. We want to do our part by including a way for patient assistance programs to provide expedited assistance to patients in obtaining their medicines."

The "Help is Here Express" bus traveling through Southern California is equipped with computer terminals and phones and staffed by trained specialists so patients can find out quickly if they may be eligible for free or nearly free medicines. The trained specialists, as well as patients at home who can't make it to the bus, can visit the PPA's easy-to-use Web site ( or call its toll-free phone number (1-888-4PPA-NOW). Operators field calls from patients in 150 languages.

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) represents the country's leading pharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies, which are devoted to inventing medicines that allow patients to live longer, healthier, and more productive lives. PhRMA companies are leading the way in the search for new cures. PhRMA members alone invested an estimated $43 billion in 2006 in discovering and developing new medicines. Industry-wide research and investment reached a record $55.2 billion in 2006.

PhRMA Internet Address:

For information on how innovative medicines save lives, visit: HYPERLINK ""

For information on the Partnership for Prescription Assistance, visit:

For information on the danger of imported drugs, visit:

SOURCE Pharmaceutical Research Manufacturers of America
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