SOURCE: NC MedAssist

NC MedAssist

April 12, 2011 08:30 ET

Pfizer Joins NC MedAssist to Expand Free Medicines Program for Low-Income, Uninsured North Carolinians

Partnership Means 48% Increase in Brand Name Drugs Available to MedAssist Clients

CHARLOTTE, NC--(Marketwire - Apr 12, 2011) - NC MedAssist, the statewide free pharmacy program, today announced a partnership with Pfizer Inc. that will help low-income, uninsured North Carolinians get access to even more free medicines.

NC MedAssist is a statewide non-profit program that helps low-income, uninsured North Carolinians get their needed prescription medicines free of charge. The partnership with Pfizer enables MedAssist clients to access 39 Pfizer medicines that were not previously available through MedAssist. The expanded MedAssist program will now include medicines for several health conditions that were not previously covered, including neuropathy, smoking cessation, overactive bladder and Alzheimer's disease.

"As the result of our partnership with Pfizer, MedAssist is now able to provide more support than ever to low-income, uninsured North Carolinians who need help getting their medicine," said Lori Giang, CEO of NC MedAssist. "We deeply appreciate Pfizer's commitment to the health of our clients. This year, we hope to serve 12,000 new clients across the state. With Pfizer's help, we are on the road to achieving this goal. I encourage anyone in North Carolina who is uninsured and can't afford their medicines to call us."

North Carolinians who are low-income and uninsured can apply for the free pharmacy program by calling MedAssist at 1-866-331-1348 or visiting www.medassist.org/enroll-now.

"MedAssist has important insight into the needs of North Carolina's uninsured and low-income residents, a community we can serve more efficiently by pooling our resources," said Gary Pelletier, Director of Pfizer Helpful Answers®. "For more than 25 years, Pfizer has provided its medicines for free or at a savings through Pfizer Helpful Answers, Pfizer's family of patient assistance programs for uninsured and underinsured Americans. In fact, just last year, Pfizer Helpful Answers helped more than 62,000 patients in North Carolina get access to more than 529,000 prescriptions. Now, with MedAssist as our partner, we are in an even better position to help North Carolina's underserved patients get the Pfizer medicines they need."

There are nearly 1.1 million low-income, uninsured people in North Carolina,1 according to the North Carolina Institute of Medicine. Even after healthcare reform is implemented by the end of 2014, the UNC School of Public Health projects that 1 million North Carolina residents will remain uninsured.2

"Without MedAssist, it might be a matter of life or death for us," said Ruth Alexander, a diabetic MedAssist client in Mecklenburg County. Both Ruth and her husband, Billy, have struggled to find work since the economic downturn.

"I don't know where we would be -- how we would be paying for our medicines -- if we did not have MedAssist," said Billy Alexander.

Since expanding from a local Mecklenburg County organization to a statewide program in 2009, NC MedAssist has helped low-income, uninsured North Carolinians in 79 counties manage chronic health conditions and acute illnesses by helping them get their needed medications for free.

"MedAssist's free pharmacy program means North Carolinians in need don't have to choose between buying food and buying their medicines," said Jason Baisden, executive director of the North Carolina Association of Free Clinics. "I applaud Pfizer for joining in our shared mission to help North Carolina's uninsured and underserved."

NC MedAssist's statewide expansion was made possible through a partnership with the North Carolina Association of Free Clinics with startup funding from the NC Attorney General's Consumer Protection and Education Fund. Starting in 2012, NC MedAssist will operate independently -- and will need to raise an estimated $1.5 million annually to continue to serve its neighbors in need across the state.

To donate, visit www.medassist.org/donate-now or call Development Director Kelly Musante at 1-704-536-1790.

About Pfizer Helpful Answers
Pfizer Helpful Answers® is Pfizer's family of patient assistance programs for the uninsured and underinsured who need help accessing Pfizer prescription medicines. Pfizer Helpful Answers is the nation's largest and most extensive set of patient assistance programs. In fact, in the last five years (2006-2010), Pfizer Helpful Answers helped nearly 4.5 million uninsured and underinsured patients get access to more than 44 million Pfizer prescriptions, equaling more than $5.6 billion. If you are interested in learning more about Pfizer Helpful Answers or to download program applications, visit www.PfizerHelpfulAnswers.com or call Pfizer Helpful Answers toll-free at 1-866-706-2400.

1 "Characteristics of Uninsured North Carolinians," Data Snapshot, Nov. 2010, NC Institute of Medicine

2 "Projected Changes in North Carolina Health Insurance Coverage due to Health Reform," NC Medical Journal, May/June 2010, Volume 71, Number 3

Contact Information

  • Contact:

    MedAssist:
    Lori Giang
    CEO/Executive Director
    NC MedAssist
    601 East 5th Street, Suite 350
    Charlotte, NC 28202
    704-536-1790
    Email Contact

    Kelly Musante
    Development Director
    NC MedAssist
    601 East 5th Street, Suite 350
    Charlotte, NC 28202
    704-536-1685
    Email Contact

    Pfizer:
    Curtis L. Allen
    Director, Media Relations
    Pfizer Inc.
    235 E. 42nd Street
    New York, NY 10017
    212-733-2096
    Email Contact