PhRMA Launches Web Site to Help Low-Income State Residents Obtain Discounts on Prescription Drugs
The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America on Wednesday launched a Web site and toll-free hotline -- part of a program called Rx Help for Californians -- in an attempt to help low-income state residents obtain a number of prescription drug discounts offered by pharmaceutical companies, the Oakland Tribune reports (Vesely, Oakland Tribune, 3/17).
The Web site, funded by $10 million from PhRMA, is part of a proposal by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) under which pharmaceutical companies would voluntarily provide low-income state residents with discounts on prescription drugs. The state general fund also contributed $4 million to establish the Web site (California Healthline, 2/11).
According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, the Web site "acts as a clearinghouse" and provides state residents with information on more than 350 prescription drug discounts and assistance programs for 2,300 medications. The programs each have different eligibility requirements and provide different discounts (Skidmore, San Diego Union-Tribune, 3/17).
The Web site asks users questions about their medications, income levels and other personal information and provides them with list programs in which they can enroll to obtain discounts on prescription drugs. The Web site also provides users with information about enrollment in public health insurance programs such as Medicare, Medi-Cal and Healthy Families.
The toll-free hotline -- 877-777-7815 -- provides a similar service from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays. The hotline includes translator services for 16 languages.
Five other states and Washington, D.C., have launched similar Web sites.
Rx Help for Californians has received support from more than 60 patient and health care advocacy groups, such as AARP, the California Pharmacists Association and the Mental Health Association of Alameda County (Oakland Tribune, 3/17).
California Medical Association CEO Jack Lewin said in a statement, "Most people don't know there are hundreds of drug company- and government-sponsored programs that make it easier for people to get their prescription medications. Rx Help for Californians is a no-cost, one-stop service that provides this information" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 3/17).