Pfizer Helpful AnswersTM One Year Later: Helping Millions of Uninsured Americans Get Access to the Medicines They Need
NEW YORK, October 26 -- This month, Arturo Navarro-Padilla is going to receive another free Pfizer prescription which helps him keep his cholesterol under control. Mr. Navarro-Padilla is one of millions of uninsured Americans who has benefited from Pfizer Helpful Answers, a program that recently celebrated its 1-year anniversary of improving and expanding access to Pfizer medicines for the uninsured. Pfizer Helpful Answers makes it simple for Americans without prescription coverage to obtain many Pfizer medicines for free or at reduced cost.
“The Pfizer program is fantastic. Before enrolling, I couldn’t afford my medicines, and often did without. Now that I can take my medicine properly, I feel more energized and I feel great! I am very thankful for the program,” said Navarro-Padilla.
Providing patients in need with access to Pfizer medicines has been a hallmark of Pfizer’s efforts for more than 30 years. Just last year, Pfizer expanded its programs to ensure that all Americans without prescription coverage, regardless of age or income, could get help accessing their Pfizer medicines. For more information go to www.PfizerHelpfulAnswers.com or call 1-866-706-2400.
“We are committed to helping patients without prescription coverage access our medicines. In 2004, Pfizer Helpful Answers helped more than two million people fill 10 million-plus prescriptions for Pfizer medicines,” said Pat Kelly, President of Pfizer US Pharmaceuticals.
Lack of Coverage Affects All Americans
Based on the latest 2004 figures from the U.S. Census, there are nearly 46 million Americans without health insurance, roughly 15.7% of the United States population. The lack of insurance coverage can be devastating. According to reports by The Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, nearly half of uninsured Americans have postponed needed preventive care, including the use of prescription drugs. This situation can lead to unnecessary suffering and higher-cost, acute-care medical interventions.
Uninsured Americans facing expensive procedures for preventable health problems is a serious concern that affects all Americans. Uninsured patients bear a significant financial burden: they paid $33 billion of the bill for health care services they incurred in 2004. However, this left another $41 billion in health care services unpaid. This “uncompensated care cost” is paid from federal and state government budgets, and by hospitals and other providers.
Now, Pfizer Offers More to Uninsured Patients and Physicians Treating the Uninsured
Pfizer has launched important enhancements to its Pfizer Helpful Answers program during the past year.
New outreach campaign: In August, Americans started seeing a new Pfizer Helpful Answers national advertising campaign, which is aimed at reaching uninsured Americans who may not be aware that help is available. At the center of the campaign is a television ad that is currently running on national network and cable stations in English and Spanish. The campaign was created in response to feedback from physicians and consumers that they needed more information about Pfizer programs. The campaign also is part of fundamental changes Pfizer is making to its advertising directed to consumers (view Pfizer announcement at www.pfizer.com/pfizer/are/news_releases/2005pr/mn_2005_0811.jsp
Streamlined Processes for Prescription Refills: This month, many Pfizer Helpful Answers enrollees and their physicians can take advantage of a simplified reordering process that allows physicians to easily order refills for their patients. This process is available for patients obtaining medicines through Connection to Care, a Pfizer Helpful Answers program that offers free Pfizer medicines to people with incomes under 200 percent of the federal poverty level.
Education Regarding Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit: Pfizer Helpful Answers members who are eligible for the new Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage that commences in January 2006 can take advantage of an educational communications program provided by Pfizer. The effort is designed to help explain this important option for those with Medicare, with a focus on the extra help available to people with limited income and resources. Educational materials will be available at www.PfizerHelpfulAnswers.com later this month.
More Choice for Uninsured Consumers: Uninsured consumers can also take advantage of Pfizer Helpful Answers by contacting the Partnership for Prescription Assistance (PPA) at www.PPARx.org. PPA is an industry-wide effort that provides a single point of access to more than 475 public and private patient assistance programs. Pfizer also participates in Together Rx Access (www.TogetherRxAccess.com), a program sponsored by ten leading pharmaceutical companies that offers savings to uninsured Americans who are not eligible for Medicare.
Outlook for 2006 and Beyond
Many groups, including federal and local legislators, economists, patient advocates, insurance agencies, hospitals and pharmaceutical companies have all put forward beneficial ideas and programs to improve America’s healthcare system, and continue to do so.
“Until longer term solutions are identified, Pfizer is pleased to offer and to participate in programs that help those without prescription coverage,” said Mr. Kelly. “We hope that anyone who does not have prescription coverage, and anyone who has lost their prescription coverage—such as victims of the recent hurricanes in the Gulf states—will call Pfizer Helpful Answers. This program provides real help for people who are in real need. We must and we will continue to spread the word about these programs to shape a healthier future for all Americans,” concluded Mr. Kelly.
Pfizer Inc is committed to helping people improve their health by discovering and developing medicines, as well as informing consumers and health care providers about our medicines and the medical conditions they treat. Through multiple initiatives, Pfizer aims to ensure access to treatments and educate, empower and motivate consumers to take the necessary steps to lead longer, healthier, happier lives. For more information about Pfizer’s patient assistance programs, visit www.PfizerHelpfulAnswers.com.
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