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‘Help Is Here Express’ Bus Tour

By Staff | Jul 14, 2009

SPENCER – The “Help is Here Express” bus tour will be in Spencer on Tuesday, July 14, stopping at Spencer Hospital to help uninsured and financially-struggling Iowans access information on programs that provide prescription medicines for free or nearly free. The bus tour will be at the hospital between 10 a.m. and 12 noon.

The bus tour is part of the Partnership for Prescription Assistance (PPA)–a nationwide effort sponsored by America’s pharmaceutical research companies–raising awareness of patient assistance programs among residents who have been facing layoffs or a loss of health care benefits in a struggling economy. Patients who visit the bus can also learn about new medicines in development to fight chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and asthma.

To date, the PPA has helped more than 5.7 million patients, including more than 54,000 Iowans. Since its launch in April 2005, the PPA bus tour has visited all 50 states and more than 2,500 cities to raise awareness about patient assistance programs. The “Help is Here Express” is staffed by trained specialists able to quickly help uninsured patients in need access information on more than 475 patient assistance programs, including nearly 200 programs offered by pharmaceutical companies. When the “Help is Here Express” moves on, patients can visit PPA’s Web site (www.pparx.org) or call the toll-free phone number (1-888-4PPA-NOW).

“At a time when national unemployment is the highest in almost two decades, the PPA has become an important lifeline for a growing number of patients,” PhRMA President and CEO Billy Tauzin said. “Millions of Americans have been added to the jobless rolls over the last several months and there could be a sharp increase in the number of our citizens losing health care benefits.”

Tauzin added that the PPA is currently helping “thousands of people every day,” including those who need treatments to fight such debilitating chronic diseases as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and asthma. In Iowa alone, there are hundreds of thousands of cases of chronic diseases, according to the Milken Institute and the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease. Nationwide, more than 133 million Americans suffer from at least one chronic disease, which is responsible for seven out of every ten deaths in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“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,” Tauzin said. “No one–and I mean no one–is helped by a medicine that sits on the shelf and is out of reach financially. In Iowa, we will continue to help folks all over the state for as long as the assistance is needed.

In addition to stopping in Spencer on Tuesday, the “Help Is Here Express” will bring the Partnership for Prescription Assistance to several other cities, including Storm Lake, Fort Dodge, Boone, Mason City and Decorah.