Helping pay for prescription drugs

Monday, September 29th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Many Americans find it difficult to pay for their medicine because prescriptions keep getting more expensive. There are assistance programs, but the paperwork is often long and complicated.

News on 6 consumer reporter Rick Wells found a Tulsa company who will do the paperwork for you. Juanita Mayes: "About 25 a month for the two of us." That's not 25 bucks, that's 25 medications every month for her and her husband. Juanita and Leo Mayes live on social security. The cost of those medications she estimates at $3,000 every month, an impossible amount.

Rick Wells, “How do you do that?" Juanita Mayes, "We don't. We get samples from the doctors or we don't take it." So diabetes, blood pressure, arthritis, circulation problems and other ailments often go untreated. They simply can't afford the drugs.

Last year we reported on prescription assistance programs, most drug makers have them. You must be low income and have no prescription drug insurance to qualify. A doctor must help with the paper work. A Broken Arrow doctor has a staff member help with the forms but many doctors don't.

Sandy Simmons: "Ok, so if you can just finish filling that out for me. I can put all these on here for you." Sandy is with ASC Medication Assist, a new company in Tulsa, they'll do the paperwork for you. Alen Blackshear: "This is a program for maintenance drugs." Medications you must take everyday for the rest of your life. ASC Medication Assist is already operating in Oklahoma City with more than 2,000 clients.

There is a fee of $10 per prescription. But for Juanita and Leo Mayes that's a do-able $250 a month versus an impossible $3,000. Initially the processing takes 4 to 6 weeks, but it will mean the difference between having prescribed medications or not.

ASC Medication Assist is having an application day on Saturday October 11th from 10 AM to 3 PM at its office on Skelly Drive. Call them for more information at 918-746-3800.