Company Increases Eligibility to Its Patient Assistance Program to 400 Percent of Federal Poverty; as Many as 75 Percent of U.S. Households May Now Qualify for This Program
GAITHERSBURG, Md., June 29 /PRNewswire/ -- MedImmune today announced the expansion of the MedImmune Assistance Program for Synagis(R) (palivizumab) designed to provide the antibody at no cost to qualifying patients who lack health insurance and whose family household income falls within a certain range of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) guidelines established by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Synagis is a biologic medicine known as a monoclonal antibody administered monthly to high-risk infants to prevent serious lower respiratory tract infection caused by respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), a leading cause of viral respiratory infection among infants.
Effective July 1, 2009, patients with household income up to 400 percent of the FPL (e.g. a household of four with an income up to $88,200), and without healthcare coverage or medical insurance, may be eligible to receive Synagis at no cost. This marks a significant expansion over the program's previous eligibility ceiling of 250 percent of the FPL (e.g. $55,125 for that same four-member household).
"MedImmune recognizes the rising cost of healthcare and the burden those expenses can have on working families who lack insurance through no fault of their own," said Tony Zook, MedImmune President. "This expansion of the MedImmune Assistance Program makes it possible for as many as 75 percent of U.S. households without health insurance and with eligible infants to apply to receive the established preventive benefits of Synagis as prescribed by their doctor at no cost to the family."
The MedImmune Assistance Program is administered as part of the Synagis Reimbursement Hotline and can be reached by calling 1-877-778-9010. A health care provider can review the patient's eligibility with a program specialist.
In addition, MedImmune supports The Patient Access Network Foundation (PANF), which is an independent, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to supporting the needs of insured patients who cannot afford the treatments they need due to out-of-pocket health care costs. More information about the help that's available for RSV prevention and treatment can be found by visiting www.patientaccessnetwork.org.
Synagis(R) (palivizumab) is a prescription medication that is used to help prevent a serious lung disease caused by respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in children at high risk. Synagis is given as a shot, usually in the thigh muscle, each month during the RSV season. Children who develop an RSV infection while receiving Synagis should continue the monthly dosing schedule throughout the season.
Synagis should not be used in patients with a history of a severe allergic reaction to Synagis or its ingredients. Cases of severe allergic reactions such as anaphylaxis and other types of hypersensitivity reactions have been reported with Synagis. These reactions may occur when any dose of Synagis is given, not just the first one. Very low platelet counts may occur, which may lead to unusual bruising and/or groups of pinpoint red spots found on the skin.
Common side effects may include fever, cold-like symptoms (upper respiratory infection) including runny nose and ear infection, and rash. Other possible side effects include skin reactions around the area where the shot was given (like redness, swelling, warmth or discomfort). In children born with certain types of heart disease, other possible side effects include bluish color of the skin, lips or under fingernails and abnormal heart rhythms. These are not all the possible side effects of Synagis.
Each year, up to 125,000 infants in the United States are hospitalized with severe RSV infections, the leading cause of lower respiratory tract infections in U.S. infants. RSV is the most common respiratory infection in infancy or childhood. Approximately one-half of all infants are infected with RSV during the first year of life, and nearly all children have been infected at least once by the time they reach their second birthday. Children born prematurely as well as those with chronic lung disease (CLD) or congenital heart disease (CHD) are at highest risk for severe disease and hospitalization due to RSV. The virus may also cause severe illness in other high-risk groups.
A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that RSV accounts for one of every 13 visits to a pediatrician, one of every 38 emergency room trips, and inpatient hospital stays for one out of every 334 children.
MedImmune, the worldwide biologics business for AstraZeneca PLC (LSE: AZN.L, NYSE: AZN), has approximately 3,100 employees worldwide and is headquartered in Gaithersburg, Maryland. With an advancing pipeline of promising candidates, we aim to be the next revolutionary force in biotechnology by delivering life-changing products, industry-leading performance, and a tireless commitment to improving patient health. For more information, visit MedImmune's website at www.medimmune.com.
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