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Living with Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA)

Co-pay Assistance Cards (USA)


#1

Drug companies offer a number of co-pay assistance options for the drugs still under trade. This includes many of the Biologics such as Remicade, Humira, & Enbrel; NSAIDs such as Celebrex, Meloxicam, etc.; SSRIs (Cymbalta, Savella, etc.), miscellaneous medications like Lyrica, as well as other namebrand medications that may have nothing to do with PSA, such as your blood pressure medication, diabetes meds or your pain medication. See the links at the end of this article for some of the major patient assistance sites Also, note that this is written for US patients and that most of these offers only work with patients that have commercial health insurance. Most offers do no apply with Medicare or Medicaid, but SOME DO. It is always worth the time to check. Another very important point to note is that these coupon programs are NOT need based. Whether you make 30K or 100K, you are eligible for the coupons.

Where do I find these wonderful little treasure cards? Well the easiest place to look is online. Go online and Google search your medications name, and the words “patient assistance”. This should take you to the drug company’s website and their patient assistant page. Many of these places have discount cards that you can print out and take with you to your pharmacy. Some will ask for some demographic info first, and mail you a card to give the pharmacist. You can also share the numbers with your mail order pharmacy by phone. Some of the mail order pharmacies will want you to fax the card over, but it is well worth the time and $.75 at 7/11 to fax that little puppy to the company.

How much do these cards usually save people? Well, that varies, and depends on what the drug company is willing to give, but most of the cards will save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars per year. For example my co-pay for Humira was $50 from my insurance company. I found the co-pay assistance card and it dropped my co-pay down to $10 a month. Another example is Remicade, my co-pay for this drug was nearly $300 a month. However with the Remi-start patient assistance program, I pay absolutely nothing. I also use the patient assistance programs for other medications that I take. One of my pain medications has a co-pay of $75 a month. But, I have a co-pay assistance card that brings my co-pay down to $10 a month. I have another medication, Lyrica, I take the brand-name medication. So, I have a patient assistance card from the drug company and it drops my co-pay from $75 to nothing. So, you can see that it is well worth the time and effort to go online and search these little treasure troves out. Most sites require some basic demographic information such as name, date of birth, and email, while others will need more information, including your address, rheumatologist, the office address, and contact information. Most cards are available to print right away, but for more expensive drugs with more cost saving programs, the cards are mailed to your home.

Usually, the copay cards have a yearly limit on them. What this means is that your card may be good for 6-12 refills, or have a maximum reimbursement amount. Some cards like RemiStart need to be renewed while for other companies, you may need to obtain a new card. It is best for you to keep track of this so that you are on top of renewing/ obtaining a new card, and don’t get hit with any high costs when your cards run out. Just print a new card and take it to your pharmacist. Some pharmacists are great at keeping up with this for you, they will even let you know of any new offers, apply them to your account, manage expiring copay cards, etc… If you have one of these pharmacists, count yourself lucky, and make sure they get a nice winter holiday card and some treats!

There is another great resource that is free is a website that will compare the drug prices at your local pharmacies and will provide links to the coupons. It is a reputable site, and was featured on NPR within the last few years. It supports itself with ads, so there are quite a few of those, but it’s worth the hassle and eye pollution.
http://www.goodrx.com
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/16/goodrx-prescription-drug-price-comparison-site_n_1281591.html. I was not able to find the NPR article, but it was featured on a number of other reputable news sites.

Below, are the sites for some of the most commonly used drugs. Again, I just entered “[drug name] patient support program” in my search bar, and was able to come up with the right page as the first in the search list.

RemiStart Program for Remicade
http://www.remicade.com/ulcerative-colitis/co-pay-support

Humira
https://www.humira.com/global/savings-and-co-pay

Enbrel
http://www.enbrel.com/pay-for-ENBREL.jspx

Stellara
http://www.stelarainfo.mobi/pages/cost_support_insurance_program

Keep in mind that these companies also offer a nurse helpline for questions and concerns, and will often have travel packaging if you are planning a trip and need to keep your medications cool, or need to travel out of the country. They can also offer tips on what documentation you will need to bring in order to carry-on your medications.


Humira or Enbrel?