Pharma Giant Offers Free Meds--May 2009

Pfizer Inc is doing its part to ensure that eligible unemployed individuals still receive their Pfizer medications during the current economic downturn. The unemployment rate hit 8.9% in April.

The company announced last week its new MAINTAIN (Medicines Assistance for Those Who Are in Need) program. More than 70 primary care medicines will be available through this program, including some of the company’s mostly widely prescribed drugs, including Lipitor (atorvastatin), Viagra (sildenafil), and Celebrex (celecoxib). The list also contains drugs from other popular classes, including diabetes, antibiotics, antidepressants, heart medications, contraceptives, and smoking-cessation products.

"The current economic environment has added considerable new stress to the daily life of millions of hard-working Americans, and our colleagues are responding to help their neighbors in the communities where they reside," said Jeffrey B. Kindler, chairman and chief executive officer of Pfizer. The inspiration for the new program was generated by company employees who saw family, friends, and neighbors struggle to make ends meet after losing their jobs.

The program, which applies regardless of prior family income, will be open for enrollment through December 31, 2009, and applies to eligible Americans who have become unemployed since January 1, 2009. It is designed to help recently unemployed Americans and their families who have lost their insurance and who are taking Pfizer medicines to continue treatment for free for up to 1 year.

Eligibility requirements of the new program include:

  • Loss of employment since January 1, 2009
  • Prescribed and taking a Pfizer medicine for at least 3 months prior to becoming unemployed and enrolling in the program
  • Lack of prescription drug coverage
  • Can attest to financial hardship

Individuals who qualify will receive their Pfizer medicines for free for up to 12 months or until they become reinsured (whichever comes first). To make it easy for eligible participants to apply, the program will be implemented into Pfizer's existing patient assistance programs called Pfizer Helpful Answers. MAINTAIN will be fully operational by July 1. In the meantime, individuals who need help now can call 866-706-2400.

For other articles in this issue, see:

Mental Health Prescriptions on the Rise

Seasonal Flu Influx Out of Season

Hospitals Expanding More into Retail Clinics

Innovators in Pharmacy: Parata Goes GREEN