As the number of opioid overdoses and deaths continues to escalate to levels never witnessed before, the price of opioid antagonists needed for reviving an overdose victim has also increased at the same time. Despite naloxone, marketed under the brand name Narcan, being available since 1971, its price has soared from less than a dollar per milliliter in 2005 to more than $15 in 2014.
Moreover, the new delivery systems range from $125 for two doses to as much as $3,750. Such inflated prices of a lifesaving prescription drug has thrown a number of challenges before medical practitioners, especially responders.
The markup in prices is not unique to opioid antagonists, such as naloxone, alone. The prices of older prescription drugs have risen and newer delivery systems impose a higher price that can become financially burdensome for many people, especially those grappling with chronic pain. At times, a patient’s condition demands the usage of more than one prescription drug over a long duration that can turn into a costly affair. In other cases, individuals from low-income groups face immense difficulty in paying for their prescriptions. As a result, they are unable to stick to their medication regimen leading to a deterioration of their health.
Various assistance programs available for procuring inexpensive medications
In situations where individuals cannot pay for their prescribed quota of prescription opioids, they may become qualified for assistance programs offered by the government, pharmaceutical companies and nonprofit organizations. A few details of such programs are mentioned below:
- Pharmaceutical companies: Most drug companies offer discount cards and assistance programs for prescription opioids. Patients and doctors have to submit an application that states the individual’s financial situation and history of prescription medications. Once the application is approved, the prescription drugs are shipped to either the patient’s residence or the doctor’s office.
- State-run drug assistance programs: Information on the state prescription assistance and drug discount programs are available at the state Medicaid and Medicare Rights Center offices. Some of these programs fall into lines with the Medicare prescription drug benefit (Part D), which expands the scope of reaching out to more resources for an individual. They include Medicare Drug Benefit Extra Help, Medicare Savings Programs and State Pharmaceutical Assistance Programs (SPAPS) that significantly alleviate the financial burden borne due to the rising costs of prescription drugs.
- Drug discount cards: Many prescription assistance programs offer these services by providing medications—sometimes free or at a very subsidized rate. Although these services aren’t comparable to that of a health insurance, they provide additional help in procuring expensive medications.
The nonprofit organizations and charity groups in particular play a crucial role in delivering services like drug discount cards to those who need them the most. Some of the notable ways to access inexpensive drugs are as follows:
- NeedyMeds: It has a voluminous database of searchable list of various disease-specific assistance programs that shares the details about different state-sponsored programs, drug discounts, low-cost medical programs, etc. Many of these programs offer a wide range of financial aid to manage various expenses, including utility bills.
- RxAssist: It is an online directory of pharmaceutical company programs offering free or low-cost health care, affordable drugs, co-pay assistance and information for Medicare Part D beneficiaries.
- RxHope: As a web-based resource, it provides a description and downloadable applications for assistance programs. It simplifies the process of locating various assistance programs and assists with the application procedure.
Misuse of prescription drugs leads to addiction
The access to prescription assistance programs makes the entire task of procuring expensive prescription drugs possible for those who are not in a good financial position to procure medications and grappling with a painful condition. These programs require a doctor’s consent, as well as the details of one’s financial status. However, these programs mandate that the applicant does not have either prescription drug benefits from a health insurance or a health insurance.
If you or your loved one is battling an addiction to prescription drugs, it is important to seek help. The Florida Prescription Addiction Helpline assists in accessing the finest drug treatment centers in Florida that specialize in delivering evidence-based intervention plans. Call our 24/7 helpline number 866-292-3211 or chat online to know more about the drug addiction treatment centers in Florida.