Free Prescription Drugs Help Americans During Recession

Corporate responsibility took a new turn for the better thanks to Wal-Mart’s innovative prescription drug program and a surprising boost from big Pharma Pfizer.

This definitely doesn’t happen often and when it does, it makes people sit up and take notice. When a big pharmaceutical manufacturing company decides it will give away some of their most popular, top selling drugs, America notices.

Beginning July 1, 2009, Pfizer, most noted for Viagra, is launching a program called Medicines Assistance for Those Who Are in Need (MAINTAIN). Basically, this program will offer over 70 brands of drugs free of charge if people have been laid off or lost their prescription drug coverage. Some of those brands will include Lipitor (to lower cholesterol levels), Celebrex (a painkiller) and Lyrica (fibromyalgia treatment).

To get drugs, people must show they have been without a job since January 1, 2009, and that they do not have prescription drug coverage anymore. There are two other requirements that people must meet. Those are that they have been taking a medication that is part of this new program for at least three months before losing their job, and that they cannot pay for medications.

Those who are eligible for Pfizer’s program will get medicines free for up to one year, or until the person is able to obtain health insurance coverage again. In an economy whose unemployment rate is pretty dismal, 8.9% in April, this is welcome news. The drug company will be accepting applications until December 31, 2009.

Another giant of a different sort, Wal-Mart, is doing their part to help customers save money as well, by offering up to 350 generic medications for $10 for a 90-day prescription. This particular program started in Tampa, Florida, when it first offered a 30-day supply for specified generic drugs for $4. This program quickly spread to every other state.

Taking another leaf from its laurels, Wal-Mart also added meds to their program that included a generic version of Fosamax (a bone metabolism regulator) and other medications used to treat breast cancer, hormone deficiencies and menopause. These are being sold for $9 for a 30-day supply or $24 for a 90-day refill.

Wal-Mart is also ensuring their customers get the benefits of non-prescription drugs, by offering over 1,000 over the counter items priced at $4 or less. Customers in Florida have already saved $81.4 million. Customers nationwide have kept $1.16 billion in their pockets since this program came into being.

Publix pharmacies have also been doing their part by offering a free prescription drug program for seven of the most frequently prescribed oral antibiotics. During this recession, it’s nice to see the corporate community step-up and make a difference.

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