Drug company Pfizer is offering a year of free drugs to people who’ve lost health insurance and have been taking the company’s medicines for at least three months before losing their job. It’ll be interesting to see if other drug companies do the same.
From Pfizer’s website:
NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Pfizer Inc announced today that it will launch an innovative program to help eligible unemployed Americans and their families who have lost their health insurance maintain access to their Pfizer medicines for free. The inspiration for the new program, called MAINTAIN™ (Medicines Assistance for Those who Are in Need), was generated by Pfizer employees who were witnessing friends, family and neighbors struggle to make ends meet after losing their jobs.
“We all know people who have been laid off recently and have lost their health insurance, making it difficult for them to pay for health care,” said Dr. Jorge Puente, Pfizer’s regional president of Worldwide Pharmaceuticals, a leading champion of the initiative. “We thought there must be some way we could help recently unemployed people who are taking Pfizer medicines to continue treatment during these challenging economic times.”
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 one year. Nearly 46 million Americans lack health insurance coverage, and that number is increasing as unemployment rates reach their highest levels in 25 years.
Pfizer employees proposed the idea of MAINTAIN to the company’s senior leadership team just within the last month. Pfizer employees also asked to be able to do their part by donating their own money to the program, and the Pfizer Foundation will match their donations.
“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 speed with which we created and approved this program is proof of our commitment to help people access the medicines they need to live healthier lives. With the launch of this initiative, which I am proud to say was proposed by our colleagues, we are doing what we can to ensure that recent loss of employment does not preclude people from managing their health.”
Eligibility requirements of the new program include:
People who qualify will receive their Pfizer medicines for free for up to 12 months or until they become re-insured (whichever comes first). More than 70 Pfizer primary care medicines will be available through the program.
To make it easy for people to apply, the program will be integrated into Pfizer’s existing family of patient assistance programs called Pfizer Helpful Answers®. A single point of entry makes it easy to get help:
The new program will be fully operational on July 1, 2009. However, people in need now can call 1-866-706-2400 for help. MAINTAIN is a part of Pfizer Helpful Answers, a joint program of Pfizer Inc and the Pfizer Patient Assistance Foundation.
About Pfizer Helpful Answers®
Pfizer Helpful Answers is a family of patient assistance programs for the uninsured and underinsured who need help getting Pfizer medicines. Today, it is the largest and most extensive initiative in the U.S. Pfizer Helpful Answers provides Pfizer medicines for free or at a savings to patients who qualify. Some programs also offer reimbursement support services for people with insurance. Pfizer Helpful Answers is a joint program of Pfizer Inc and the Pfizer Patient Assistance Foundation™.
About Pfizer Inc
Founded in 1849, Pfizer is the world’s premier biopharmaceutical company taking new approaches to better health. We discover, develop, manufacture and deliver quality, safe and effective prescription medicines to treat and help prevent disease for both people and animals. We also partner with healthcare providers, governments and local communities around the world to expand access to our medicines and to provide better quality health care and health system support. At Pfizer, more than 80,000 colleagues in more than 90 countries work every day to help people stay happier and healthier longer and reduce the human and economic burden of disease worldwide.