GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE: GSK) today announced that it is making free medicines easier to obtain for patients who are unemployed, uninsured or struggling to make ends meet.
GSK is improving access to its patient assistance program, Bridges to Access, by offering two ways to apply -- self-enrollment with a simple, one-page application or enrollment by telephone with the help of a healthcare advocate such as a nurse, pharmacist or social worker. Previously, all patients were required to apply through an advocate.
When using the self-enrollment form, a free 90-day supply of medicine is mailed to eligible patients two days after receipt of the application, a prescription and verification of income. For patients who need medicine immediately, they can enroll by telephone with the help of their advocate and then immediately pick up a 60-day supply of medicine at any retail pharmacy for a $10 co-pay. Most GSK medicines used in an outpatient setting are available through Bridges to Access.
"We are proud to discover and deliver medicines that can help people do more and feel better," said Deirdre Connelly, GSK President North America Pharmaceuticals. "At the same time we recognize these are difficult financial times that can take a toll on people's ability to pay for care. We want to do what we can to support better health, especially for those who may find themselves suddenly in difficult financial situations."
In 2008, GSK patient assistance programs provided medicines valued at more than $438 million wholesale acquisition cost (WAC) to almost 415,000 patients through approximately 2.5 million 30-day prescriptions.
Patients who have prescription drug benefits through any private or public program are not eligible for the program. The program will provide free medicines to eligible people with incomes of not more than $27,075 for a single person household; $36,425 for couple; and $55,125 for a family of four. Patients with incomes above this amount may qualify through an adjustment to their income for certain out-of-pocket medical expenses.
Patients, their family members and healthcare advocates may use the new Prequalification Calculator at www.BridgesToAccess.com to see if they might qualify for the program. Enrollment applications are available at the website and by calling 1-866-PATIENT (1-866-728-4368).
GSK offers a number of other programs to help patients get access to the medicines they need. Information on all of the programs can be found at www.gskforyou.com. The programs are:
- Commitment to Access program for oncology and specialty pharmacy products. Patients must apply with the help of an advocate. Income eligibility is $54,150 for a household of one; $72,850 for two persons; and $110,250 for a family of four.
- GSK Access for Medicare Part D enrollees who have spent at least $600 on prescription medicines this year. Household income limits mirror Bridges to Access.
- Together Rx Access, a free savings card program for those who are not eligible for Medicare. This program was created in 2005 by several pharmaceutical companies, including GSK. Together Rx Access provides savings on more than 275 products. A Together Rx Access participant cannot be eligible for Medicare, cannot have prescription coverage, and must be a legal US resident with household income equal to or less than: $30,000 for a single person, $40,000 for a family of two, $50,000 for a family of three, $60,000 for a family of four, or $70,000 for a family of five. Together Rx Access information and applications are available via www.TogetherRxAccess.com or 1-800-444-4106.