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Important Information on Prescription Medication Availability

About 6 million Californians now have one-stop access to an array of discounted or free medication provided by drug manufacturers. Rx Help for Californians, a new $10 million program sponsored by the pharmaceutical industry, debuted March 16, 2005. The service provides individuals with access to more than 350 discount and assistance programs and 2,300 medications.

"Most people don't know there are hundreds of drug company and government-sponsored programs that make it easier for people to get their prescription medications," California Medical Association chief executive Jack Lewin said in a statement. "Rx Help for Californians is a no-cost, one-stop service that provides this information."

The eligibility requirements vary by program - some target patients with specific diseases, others are designed for low-income individuals or the elderly. The average savings will vary depending on the individual.

The service is free and can be accessed on your computer at or by phone at (877) 777-7815. Translators are available for about 16 languages. After answering several questions about such things as age, income and medications, patients will find out what programs best meet their needs.

The program also will provide information about enrolling in government assistance programs such as Medi-Cal, Medicare and Healthy Families. More than 60 patient and health-care advocacy organizations supported the program.

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