Drug company-sponsored patient assistance programs (PAPs) provide access to brand-name medications at little or no cost and have been advocated as a safety net for inadequately insured patients. Yet little is known about these programs. We surveyed drug company-sponsored PAPs and found much variability in their structures and application processes. Most cover one or two drugs. Only 4 percent disclosed how many patients they had directly helped, and half would not disclose their income eligibility criteria. A better understanding of PAPs might clarify their role in improving access to medications, the adequacy of existing public programs, and their impact on cost-effective medication use.
Choudhry, Niteesh KLee, Joy LAgnew-Blais, JessicaCorcoran, ColleenShrank, William HK23HL090505-01/HL/NHLBI NIH HHS/United StatesResearch Support, N.I.H., ExtramuralUnited StatesHealth affairs (Project Hope)Health Aff (Millwood). 2009 May-Jun;28(3):827-34.