Prescription help available for uninsured Americans

(ARA) – Many of us know someone – a co-worker, relative or neighbor – who has been affected by the recession. Unfortunately, lost jobs haven’t been the only casualty during these tough economic times. In fact, new results from The Commonwealth Fund’s Biennial Health Insurance Survey reveal that 9 million Americans lost their health insurance during the past two years on account of losing their jobs. According to the survey, this data suggests that nearly 52 million American adults were uninsured at some point during 2010.

Without the ability to pay for needed medical care, uninsured individuals are less likely to receive preventive care, are more likely to be hospitalized for chronic conditions that could have been prevented, and are more likely to die in the hospital than insured Americans. Information from the Biennial Health Insurance Survey highlights this assertion, indicating that 75 million adults skipped doctors’ visits, prescriptions, specialist care and recommended tests or treatments in 2010 because of cost, up 60 percent over the past decade.

Fortunately, there is relief for uninsured Americans struggling to pay for their prescription medicines. Pfizer Helpful Answers, Pfizer’s family of patient assistance programs, helps eligible uninsured and underinsured Americans get access to Pfizer medicines for free or at a savings. In the last five years (2006-2010), Pfizer Helpful Answers helped nearly 4.5 million uninsured and underinsured patients get access to more than 44 million Pfizer prescriptions, equaling more than $5.6 billion.

Nearly two years ago, Pfizer expanded its family of patient assistance programs by launching the MAINTAIN program, which helps eligible patients who have recently lost their jobs continue receiving their Pfizer medicines for up to 12 months, or until they become insured again, whichever comes first. Since the program’s inception in 2009, MAINTAIN has proved to be a valuable resource for the recently unemployed and uninsured. For example, when Stuart Tathwell lost his job in Nashville, Tennessee, he looked to MAINTAIN to help him get access to his Pfizer medicines.

“Prescription medicines can be a significant cost to someone who is unemployed,” said Tathwell, when Pfizer asked about his experience with the program. “Pfizer’s MAINTAIN program has allowed me to continue taking my Pfizer medicines at the recommended dosage.”

To help meet the continued need for such programs, Pfizer recently extended MAINTAIN to accept applications through December 31, 2011.

“We launched the MAINTAIN program in an effort to meet the changing needs of Americans without health insurance coverage,” explained Gary Pelletier, Director and Team Leader of Pfizer Helpful Answers. “This new data from The Commonwealth Fund affirms that programs like MAINTAIN are still highly important to uninsured Americans. Now that MAINTAIN is accepting applications through the end of 2011, we have the opportunity to help even more eligible uninsured and unemployed patients in need access their Pfizer medicines.”

To find out more about the MAINTAIN program and other Pfizer Helpful Answers programs, or to check your eligibility status, call 1-866-706-2400 or visit