Patients who live with chronic diseases such as lupus often suffer with the burden of having to pay for expensive treatments every month. In order to help families deal with this issue, the Lupus Foundation of America has published an article on its blog with recommendations on how to find help for dealing with the expenses associated with the disease. According to the Foundation, Patient Assistance Programs and advocate groups are considered the best options.
Patient Assistance Programs are created by pharmaceutical companies and offer patients medication at lower cost or even for free. The programs qualify patients through a series of criteria, according to the guidelines set forth by the organization NeedyMeds, which provides information about the programs.
The Foundation noted that the qualification criteria differs depending on the pharmaceutical drug in use. “You learn to be an advocate,” explained Colin Cornett, who lives the burden of lupus at home, as his wife, Pam, was diagnosed with the disease over 20 years ago.
Despite the fact that the couple has insurance, last year Pam needed to start a treatment with a medication that costs $5,000 monthly, and it was only through a Patient Assistant Program that the family could get financial help. However, when they were waiting for the review of the application, they had only two options: the couple could either pay $5,000 per month or Pam could stop taking the medication.
The couple had to act. “It took three days to get in contact with the manufacturer,” said Colin. “But as soon as I got to the manufacturer they were sending me a vial to solve the immediate issue.” In addition, the couple recommends that patients who are searching for Patient Assistance Programs or looking to renew their support to research their resources.
More than just helping patients who suffer from the disease, the Lupus Foundation of America is also focused on supporting scientific research to find a cure for lupus. In line with its mission, the foundation recently opened applications for a series of grants from its National Research Program, aimed at investigators working on lupus-related research. The program wants to fund critical areas of scientific lupus research, such as environmental triggers of the disease and health outcomes in pediatric lupus. The program will accept applications from investigators until March 31st.