‘Help Bus’ to make Troy stop Friday

Published 6:24 pm Wednesday, March 18, 2009

At a time when national unemployment is the highest in almost two decades and millions of people have been added to the jobless rolls, many people are faced with losing health care benefits. But “Help” is on the way.

The “Help is Here Express” bus tour will make a stop between the hours of 9 and 11 a.m. on Friday, March 20, at Troy Regional Medical Center to help uninsured and financially struggling Alabamians access information on programs that provide prescription medicine for free or close to free.

Those who visit the bus on Friday also have an opportunity to learn about new medicines in development to fight chronic diseases, such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes and asthma.

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“The bus tour made a stop in Troy last year and the response was good,” said Karen Herring, TRMC community relations team leader.

“Troy Regional Medical Center is excited about being a part of this program aimed at assisting the citizens of Pike County. We encourage people to come by Friday. It doesn’t take long to go through the bus and there are specialists on board to research your needs and see if they can be of assistance.”

The bus tour is part of Partnership for Prescription Assistance (PPA), which is a nationwide effort sponsored by America’s pharmaceutical research companies. The goal of PPA is to raise awareness of patient assistant programs among residents who have been laid off or have lost health benefits in a struggling economy.

“The PPA, so far, has helped more than 125,000 Alabamians find out if they may qualify for free or discounted medicines and, as we move forward into 2009, the assistance is still available,” said Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America President and CEO Billy Tauzin.

“That’s good news for the citizens of Alabama where there are 167,774 people now out of work.

“And, with the number of people affected by chronic disease going up every year, and economists predicting that unemployment will continue to grow well into 2009, the PPA and its message of hope are now more relevant than ever. No one – and I mean no one – is helped by a medicine that sits on the shelf and is out of reach financially.  In Alabama, we will continue to help folks all over the state for as long as the assistance is needed.”

Tauzin said that patients who qualify for help from the PPA’s participating patient assistance programs have access to more than 2,500 brand-name and generic prescription medicines.

“The bus will be located in front of the medical center and operational by 9 a.m. We encourage people to come and let the representatives take a look at their prescription needs and see if they qualify for assistance,” Herring said.

“Every saving, no matter how small, helps.”