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Pharmaceutical, Biotech Research Companies Support Newark Rx Assistance Program

WASHINGTON, Sept. 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The City of Newark, New Jersey, today launched Newark Rx with the support of a number of America's pharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies. The program is designed to deliver free or nearly free medicines to the uninsured and low-income patients who do not qualify for Medicaid.

"The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) and its member companies are proud to be able to work with Newark Mayor Cory Booker, Heinz Family Philanthropies, the Health Care Institute of New Jersey and other partners to help city residents obtain the medicines they need," said PhRMA Vice President Jan Faiks. "Newark Rx targets patients with household incomes at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level, which is about $21,660 a year for an individual and $44,100 annually for a family of four."

Faiks stressed that the patients who will be helped often suffer the debilitating effects of common chronic diseases and because of that, "it is essential that they obtain medicines that can either prevent deterioration to full-blown disease or manage medical conditions when they develop."

Studies show that when patients combine healthy diet and exercise with taking medicines as prescribed, they often avoid expensive surgeries and hospitalizations. "That helps them live more productive lives and helps the city of Newark and state of New Jersey save money," Faiks said.

She cited a 2007 study published in the journal Health Affairs by researchers at Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) that found high blood pressure medicines prevented 86,000 deaths in America in 2001 and 833,000 hospitalizations in 2002. The same researchers also estimated that if all patients suffering from high blood pressure took their medications as prescribed, an additional 89,000 deaths and 420,000 hospitalizations could be avoided annually, saving $16.5 billion from fewer strokes and heart attacks.

Faiks noted that the participation of PhRMA and its member companies in Newark Rx is in keeping with a long tradition of helping struggling patients obtain their medicines. The companies supporting Newark Rx have also sponsored their own medication assistance programs for decades and PhRMA has been sponsoring the Partnership for Prescription Assistance (PPA) since April 2005.

The PPA is a single point of access to more than 475 patient assistance programs, including nearly 200 sponsored by America's pharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies. The programs provide medicines for free or nearly free to uninsured patients and those who are struggling financially. Patients all over America can access the PPA by calling a toll-free number (1-888-477-2669) to talk to a trained operator or accessing the Web site ( It takes about 15 minutes for patients to find out if they may qualify for help.

So far, the PPA has helped nearly 6 million Americans nationwide. In New Jersey, almost 250,000 residents have been helped by the PPA and its pilot program, Rx for New Jersey. Forty-five towns and cities from all over the state have been visited by the PPA's "Help Is Here Express" bus.

"And now," said Faiks, "Newark Rx has been launched to help uninsured and low-income city residents obtain their badly needed medications. We applaud the city and Heinz Family Philanthropies for also launching NewarkHealthPlus to contract with local physicians to create medical homes for the uninsured and under-insured. The program should lead to less reliance on hospital emergency rooms for primary care."

Faiks emphasized that from providing prescription medications to quality care by local doctors, "the city of Newark has embarked on an ambitious effort to help residents live longer, healthier and more productive lives. PhRMA and its member companies are proud to be part of the mission."

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SOURCE Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America
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