Patient Assistance Programs

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Patient assistance programs, also referred to as PAPs, prescription assistance, or prescription support programs, can make prescription drugs more affordable for consumers. Patient assistance programs are funded by pharmaceutical companies, government agencies, and non-profit organizations to help qualified patients get prescription medicines for free or at a significantly reduced cost.

Most patient assistance programs require that a patient be uninsured or under-insured and have a low income in order to qualify for free or discount medications. However, some programs have no such requirements and are open to all patients.



Flickr: CarbonNYC
Sponsored by Pharmaceutical companies and government agencies
Qualifications Income requirements, lack of insurance for prescriptions
Benefits Free or reduced cost medicines
Requirements All programs have different enrollment paperwork and acceptance criteria
Medicare eligible? Medicare patients are not eligible for patient assistance programs in many cases
Disclaimer The information provided by PharmacyDrugGuide is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Do not take any action based on the information on this page without consulting a physician.
Author Susan MacDowell


About Patient Assistance Programs

Pharmaceutical companies provide patient assistance programs voluntarily--they are not required by law to offer them. Every company that offers a PAP will have their own eligibility criteria and qualifications for enrollment. In general, these savings programs are for patients who are unable to pay for their medications and do not have any prescription drug insurance coverage. Most programs have income requirements, and patients may need to provide proof of income along with other documentation that verifies their eligibility.[1]

Drug Coupons and Patient Assistance Programs

Pat Gleason and Shelly Sanchez of Prime Therapeutics share at Pharmacy Benefits Management Institute (PBMI) February 2014 how co-pay offset programs are one way Prime helps make high-cost specialty medicines more affordable for members.

Where to Find Patient Assistance Programs

  • One way to find information is on the pharmaceutical companies' websites for specific drugs. Manufacturers that offer assistance will usually provide program links on the drug websites.
  • The Assistance Fund, a non-profit group based in Orlando Florida, provides financial assistance for medication copays, health insurance premiums, and basic healthcare needs to children and adults diagnosed with critical or chronic illnesses. The application for their programs can be found at
  • Walgreens has a prescription savings plan with open eligibility--that is, all residents of the U.S. are allowed to participate regardless of prescription drug insurance coverage or income.


Medicare and Patient Assistance Programs

While some patient assistance programs exclude patients who have Medicare Part D coverage from eligibility, some plans are available to medicare recipients. has several tools available to help patients find plans that may be available to them.

  • Medicare provides PAP information by drug name, and includes information for patients who are enrolled in Medicare Part D, and also for those who are not at
  • Medicare also provides information about patient assistance programs run by individual states.[2]
  • Medicare has information available on its "Help with Medical and Drug Costs" page. It includes a link to a PDF file on "Bridging the Coverage Gap".[3]

The National Council on Aging offers a BenefitsCheckUp website which includes information and an application for the Medicare Rx Extra Help program. This program is available to patients who are enrolled in Medicare, who have income which is less than $16,335 if single or $22,065 if married, in addition to resource limits. Patients who qualify will have lower deductibles, lower premiums, no coverage gap, and will pay less for prescriptions.[4]

Also See: Drug Side Effects, Prescription Drugs, Drug Coupons, Free Drug Samples, AbbVie Patient Assistance Programs, Bristol-Myers Squibb Patient Assistance Programs, Eli Lilly Patient Assistance Programs, Merck Patient Assistance Programs, Novartis Patient Assistance Programs, Pfizer Patient Assistance Programs, Sanofi Patient Assistance Programs, FDA, AARP MedicareRx Plan