Moving America Forward

These Pharmacists Are Making Affordable Medication for All a Reality

February 13, 2014
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These Pharmacists Are Making Affordable Medication for All a Reality
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What happens when an expensive co-pay for medication means you can't make rent? The Assistance Fund has the answer.

What good is health insurance when a person can’t afford the medication they need because of an expensive co-pay? When out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs reach thousands of dollars, a trip to the pharmacy might mean rent can’t be made that month. That’s why in 2009, former pharmacists Jeff Spafford and Edward Hensley set up The Assistance Fund, a charity that covers prescription costs for insured Americans who can’t afford their co-pay.

Spafford, who used to run a pharmacy in Orlando, Fla., recently spoke with My News 13 about how a medication can be a luxury. “Taking care of these patients, I saw more and more of them coming to me, patients who had insurance but could not afford their co-pay or their financial responsibility and as such were having to make pretty hard choices about whether or not they paid their rent, or really got access to their specialty medication,” he said.

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The charity is able to help people in need thanks to donations from corporations, grants and drug manufacturers, the station reports. The Assistance Fund has reportedly raised more than $100 million to help more than 19,000 people across the country, such as Deborah Leigh Howie, who has Multiple Sclerosis. “The Assistance Fund helps me get Copaxone with no co-payment each month,” Howie told Good News Network. “Otherwise, I would be without treatment for MS.”

Spafford told My News 13, “It’s stories that we get from patients every day and how we’ve been able to help them and how we’ve been able to make a difference in their lives that really helps, keeps us going.” To learn more about the charity and if you might qualify for assistance, check out the group’s website here.

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