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Partnership for Prescription Assistance Celebrates Four-Year Anniversary; Helps More Than 5.7 Million Uninsured Patients Across United States
Date:4/6/2009

WASHINGTON, April 6 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- This week, the Partnership for Prescription Assistance -- a nationwide effort sponsored by America's pharmaceutical research companies -- is celebrating its fourth anniversary of helping uninsured and financially-struggling Americans get access to information about programs that provide prescription medicines for free or nearly free. Since its launch in April 2005, the PPA has helped more than 5.7 million patients nationwide. Also in that time, the PPA bus tour, the "Help is Here Express," has traveled the country -- visiting all 50 states and more than 2,500 cities -- to educate people about patient assistance programs.

"For four years, the Partnership for Prescription Assistance has been a resounding success, and it continues to help thousands of patients every day," said Billy Tauzin, President and CEO of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA). "No one's helped by a medicine that sits on the shelf and is out of reach financially. We're not going to stop after four years; we're going to keep on reaching out across America as long as there are people who need our help."

The "Help is Here Express" is staffed by trained specialists able to quickly help uninsured patients in need access information on more than 475 patient assistance programs, including nearly 200 programs offered by pharmaceutical companies. When the "Help is Here Express" moves on, patients can visit PPA's easy-to-use Web site (www.pparx.org) or call the toll-free phone number (1-888-4PPA-NOW) where trained operators field calls in 150 languages.

"With the number of people affected by chronic disease increasing every year, the PPA and its message of hope is now more relevant than ever," Tauzin added. According to the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD), a national coalition working to save lives and reduce health care costs through prevention and management of chronic disease, more than 133 million Americans have at least one chronic disease. The Milken Institute, along with the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (www.fightchronicdisease.org), notes there are more than 19.1 million cases of heart disease, 13.7 million cases of diabetes, and 10.5 million cases of cancer in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, chronic diseases account for 7 out of every 10 deaths in the U.S.

Patients who qualify for help from the PPA's participating patient assistance programs have access to more than 2,500 brand-name and generic prescription medicines. In addition, the PPA provides information on more than 10,000 free health care clinics in America and has connected more than 277,000 patients with clinics and health care providers in their communities.

"At a time when national unemployment is the highest in almost two decades, the PPA has become an important lifeline for a growing number of patients," PhRMA's Tauzin said. "Millions of Americans have been added to the jobless rolls over the last several months, and economists are predicting that unemployment will continue to grow well into 2009. As more Americans lose their jobs, there could be a sharp increase in the number of people losing health care benefits. The PPA and its message of hope are now more relevant than ever."

On a national level, the Partnership for Prescription Assistance is represented by Emmy-winning syndicated television talk show host Montel Williams, named PPA's national spokesman in January 2006. In addition, nationally recognized Telemundo talk show host and author Mayte Prida leads the PPA's Hispanic outreach efforts.

"Since January 2006, I've been traveling the country talking about the Partnership for Prescription Assistance, urging people to pick up the phone, log on to the Web site or visit the big, orange PPA bus to see if they may qualify for assistance," said Williams. "As a patient who must cope every day with the effects of multiple sclerosis, I understand only too well the importance of having access to the medicine you need."

Patients seeking help from PPA can call a toll-free number (1-888-4PPA-NOW) to talk to a trained operator or access the PPA Web site (www.pparx.org). It only takes 10 to 15 minutes to find out if someone may qualify for free or discounted medications.


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SOURCE Partnership for Prescription Assistance
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