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Partnership for Prescription Assistance Prepared to Help Montana Workers Hurt by Recession

HELENA, Mont., May 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The 'Help is Here Express' bus tour will be stopping in Montana throughout the week of May 26 - May 29 at various cities in order to help uninsured and financially-struggling Montanans access information on programs that provide prescription medicines for free or nearly free. With the state's unemployment rate now hitting 6.1 percent - and having steadily risen for two years - the Partnership for Prescription Assistance (PPA) bus tour is raising awareness of patient assistance programs among state residents who face layoffs and loss of health care benefits.

The PPA, a nationwide effort sponsored by America's pharmaceutical research companies, provides a single point of access to more than 475 patient assistance programs that help those who are uninsured or struggling financially. Nearly 200 of the programs are provided by pharmaceutical companies.

The "Help Is Here Express" bus will be at the following Montana locations:

    Tuesday, May 26, 2009

          10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
          Flathead Community Health Center
          1035 1st Avenue West
          Kalispell, MT

          2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
          St. Patrick Hospital and Health Science Center
          Providence Center
          900 North Orange Street
          Missoula, MT

    Wednesday, May 27, 2009

           10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
           R.S.V.P. Center
           1801 Benefits Court
           Great Falls, MT

           2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
           St. Peter's Hospital
           2475 Broadway
           Helena, MT

    Thursday, May 28, 2009

           10:00 a.m. 11:00 a.m.
           St. James Healthcare
           400 South Clark
           Butte, MT

           2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
           Bozeman Public Library
           Bozeman, MT

     Friday, May 29, 2009

           10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
           Town and Country Parking Lot on Park Street
           1217 West Park Street (shopping mall, Western Drug Plaza)
           Hosted by Livingston Health Care
           Livingston, MT

           2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
           St. Vincent Healthcare
           1233 North 30th Street
           Billings, MT

"The PPA, so far, has helped well over 19,000 Montanans find out if they may qualify for free or discounted medicines and as we move forward into 2009, the assistance is still available," said PhRMA President and CEO Billy Tauzin. "That's good news for the citizens of Montana, where there are more than 30,000 people out of work."

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.

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

To help spread the word about the assistance available, the PPA's "Help Is Here Express" buses continue to visit communities all over the country with trained specialists on board to provide information on how to access patient assistance programs. All 50 states and more than 2,500 towns and cities have been visited so far, and more than 5.7 million patients have been helped nationwide since the PPA began in April 2005.

"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 there could be a sharp increase in the number of our citizens losing health care benefits."

"PPA is currently helping thousands of people every day," Tauzin added, including those who need treatments to fight such debilitating chronic diseases as cancer, heart disease, diabetes and asthma.

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 effort.

"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."

More than 1,300 national, state and local partners are working with America's pharmaceutical research companies to spread the word about the program. Trained specialists work with doctors, pharmacists, health care providers and community groups, educating them on the process and use of the PPA's easy-to-access Web site and toll-free number.

To find out if there are patient assistance programs that may meet their needs, patients should call toll-free 1-888-4PPA-NOW (1-888-477-2669) to speak with a trained specialist or visit

SOURCE Partnership for Prescription Assistance
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