Washington, D.C. (May 25, 2010) — With the recent tornadoes in Oklahoma causing widespread damage and devastation, the Partnership for Prescription Assistance (PPA) is stepping up efforts to help people in the state who are uninsured and financially struggling. To date, the PPA has already helped more than 100,000 Oklahomans in need by connecting them to patient assistance programs that provide medicines for free or nearly free, but thousands may still be eligible for help. Since its debut in April 2005, the PPA has helped more than 6.5 million Americans nationwide.
“Given massive property losses throughout Oklahoma and the high number of uninsured individuals in the state, it’s important that people remember help is available through the PPA,” said Billy Tauzin, President and CEO of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA). More than 22 percent of Oklahomans were uninsured in mid-2009, the sixth-highest rate in the country, according to the Gallup Organization.
“High rates of chronic disease in the state also make the help provided by PPA all the more essential to Oklahomans in need,” said Tauzin.
A report from the Milken Institute reveals just how costly chronic diseases can be. According to the most recent statistics, nearly 2.2 million cases of the seven most common chronic medical conditions, including heart disease, stroke and diabetes, were reported in Oklahoma. Treatment expenditures and lost productivity in the state for just that one year totaled $17 billion.
In an effort to continue to help Americans who are uninsured and struggling, the PPA recently launched new online resources designed to expand the program’s outreach. “PPA 2.0,” an evolution of the nationwide effort sponsored by America’s pharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies, introduces new online resources that expand community partnerships and enhance PPA’s mobile and Internet presence to make it even easier to obtain information about PPA programs.
These new resources include a text hotline and smart phone application, in addition to the existing toll-free hotline and Web site, helping to ensure around-the-clock access to information about the more than 475 programs offered through the PPA. Nearly 200 of the programs are provided by pharmaceutical companies.
“Over the past five years, we’ve been from coast to coast, in all 50 states, helping people who are uninsured and struggling – but our work is not yet done,” said Tauzin. “The next generation of PPA employs the latest technology to give our partners, health care providers, patient advocates and patients themselves easier access to the help provided by patient assistance programs.”
Jerry Mathers, who has diabetes, has traveled with the PPA to raise awareness of this devastating chronic disease and the help available through the program. Mathers, the new national spokesperson for PPA, is best known for his portrayal of “The Beaver” in the television classic, “Leave It To Beaver.”
“I’ve been traveling the country talking about the Partnership for Prescription Assistance, urging people to pick up the phone or log on to the Web site to see if they may qualify for help,” said Mathers. “As a patient who must cope every day with the effects of diabetes, I understand only too well the importance of having access to the medicine you need.”
Awareness of the PPA is also being raised through a new 60-second television public service announcement featuring National Football league Hall of Famer and former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jerome Bettis and former New England Patriots star linebacker and patient advocate Tedy Bruschi, who team up to raise awareness of the PPA program. The PSA has been sent to more than 1,500 commercial television stations, 500 community TV stations and 500 cable systems throughout America.
Patients seeking help with their medicines can call PPA’s toll-free number (1-888-4-PPA-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 nearly free medications.
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 300,000 patients with clinics and health care providers in their communities.
More than 1,500 national, state and local partners are working with America’s pharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies to spread the word about the program. Trained specialists work with doctors, pharmacists, other health care providers and community groups, educating them on the process and use of PPA’s easy-to-access Web site and toll-free number.
The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) represents the country’s leading pharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies, which are devoted to inventing medicines that allow patients to live longer, healthier, and more productive lives. PhRMA companies are leading the way in the search for new cures. PhRMA members alone invested an estimated $50.3 billion in 2008 in discovering and developing new medicines. Industry-wide research and investment reached a record $65.2 billion in 2008.
PhRMA Internet Address: www.phrma.org
For information on stories of hope and survival, visit: http://sharingmiracles.com/
For information on how innovative medicines save lives, visit: www.innovation.org
For information on the Partnership for Prescription Assistance, visit: www.pparx.org
For more information on public health emergencies, visit: www.rxresponse.org