Thursday, March 19, 2009

Partnership for Prescription Assistance Prepared to Help Georgia Workers Hurt by Recession

/PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The "Help is Here Express" bus tour will be stopping in Georgia the week of March 23-27 at various cities throughout the state in order to help uninsured and financially-struggling Georgians access information on programs that provide prescription medicines for free or nearly free. With unemployment rates in Georgia having risen for nine straight months, and having passed the national unemployment rate (7.6 percent) to stand today at 8.1 percent, the Partnership for Prescription Assistance (PPA) is ready to help state residents who face layoffs and loss of health care benefits determine if they may qualify for free or nearly free medicines.

The PPA, a nationwide effort sponsored by America's pharmaceutical research companies, provides a single point of access to more than 475 patient assistance programs that help those who are uninsured or struggling financially. Nearly 200 of the programs are provided by pharmaceutical companies.

The "Help Is Here Express" bus will be at the following Georgia locations:

Monday, March 23
EVENT TIME: 9:00am - 11:00am
ADDRESS: Woodlawn Forrest Church of Christ
1515 N. Forrest Street
Valdosta, GA

EVENT TIME: 1:00pm - 3:00pm
ADDRESS: Tift County Health Department
305 12th Street East
Tifton, GA

Tuesday, March 24
EVENT TIME: 9:00am - 11:00am
ADDRESS: Albany Tech College/Georgia Dept of Labor Parking Lot
1701 South Slappey Blvd.
Albany, GA

EVENT TIME: 1:00pm - 3:00pm
ADDRESS: First Baptist Church of Americus
221 South Lee Street
Americus, GA

Wednesday, March 25
EVENT TIME: 8:30am - 10:00am
ADDRESS: Columbus Health Department
2100 Corner Avenue
Columbus, GA

EVENT TIME: 1:30pm - 3:00pm
ADDRESS: Bibb County Health Department
171 Emery Highway
Macon, GA

Thursday, March 26
EVENT TIME: 9:00am - 11:00am
970 McEver Road
Gainesville, GA

EVENT TIME: 1:00pm - 2:00pm
ADDRESS: Clarke County DFCS
284 North Avenue
Athens, GA

Friday, March 27
EVENT TIME: 9:00am - 11:00am
ADDRESS: Lamar Medical Center
1448 Lee Beard Way
Augusta, GA

EVENT TIME: 1:00pm - 2:00pm
ADDRESS: Burke County DFCS
729 West 6th Street
Waynesboro, GA

"The PPA, so far, has helped well over 230,000 Georgians find out if they may qualify for free or discounted medicines and as we move forward into 2009, the assistance is still available," said PhRMA President and CEO Billy Tauzin. "That's good news for the citizens of Georgia, where the unemployment rate has jumped from 5.3 percent to 8.1 percent since April 2008 and where some 393,000 people are now out of work."

Patients who qualify for help from the PPA's participating patient assistance programs have access to more than 2,500 brand-name and generic prescription medicines. In addition, the PPA provides information on more than 10,000 free health care clinics in America and has connected more than 277,000 patients with clinics and health care providers in their communities.

Patients seeking help from PPA can call a toll-free number (1-888-4-PPA-NOW) to talk to a trained operator or access the PPA Web site ( It only takes 10 to 15 minutes to find out if someone may qualify for free or discounted medications.

To help spread the word about the assistance available, the PPA's "Help Is Here Express" buses continue to visit communities all over the country with trained specialists on board to provide information on how to access patient assistance programs. All 50 states and more than 2,500 towns and cities have been visited so far, and more than 5.6 million patients have been helped nationwide since the PPA began in April 2005.

"At a time when national unemployment is the highest in almost two decades, the PPA has become an important lifeline for a growing number of patients," PhRMA's Tauzin said. "Millions of Americans have been added to the jobless rolls over the last several months and there could be a sharp increase in the number of our citizens losing health care benefits."

"PPA is currently helping thousands of people every day," Tauzin added, including those who need treatments to fight such debilitating chronic diseases as cancer, heart disease, diabetes and asthma.

On a national level, the Partnership for Prescription Assistance is represented by Emmy-winning syndicated television talk show host Montel Williams, named PPA's national spokesman in January 2006. In addition, nationally recognized Telemundo talk show host and author Mayte Prida leads the PPA's Hispanic outreach effort.

"Since January 2006, I've been traveling the country talking about the Partnership for Prescription Assistance, urging people to pick up the phone, log on to the Web site or visit the big, orange PPA bus to see if they may qualify for assistance," said Williams. "As a patient who must cope every day with the effects of multiple sclerosis, I understand only too well the importance of having access to the medicine you need."

More than 1,300 national, state and local partners are working with America's pharmaceutical research companies to spread the word about the program. Trained specialists work with doctors, pharmacists, health care providers and community groups, educating them on the process and use of the PPA's easy-to-access Web site and toll-free number.

To find out if there are patient assistance programs that may meet their needs, patients should call toll-free 1-888-4PPA-NOW (1-888-477-2669) to speak with a trained specialist or visit

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