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Ask Sid

Rx Help for the Financially Strapped

Q. I was recently laid off and lost my health insurance, and now I can’t afford my prescription medications. Any suggestions?

A. Ask for free supplies from the drug manufacturer. Pfizer recently announced free supplies of 70 of its drugs (including Lipitor, to lower cholesterol, and Viagra, for erectile dysfunction) for up to one year. The offer applies to those who have lost their jobs and health insurance since Jan. 1 and had been taking that prescription for at least three months.

Pfizer joins other drug companies with assistance programs for people with limited financial and insurance resources, including AstraZeneca, Merck, Novartis and Roche Pharmaceuticals. Eligibility requirements vary, so check their websites for criteria.

Also worth exploring: the Partnership for Prescription Assistance, which provides access to 475 different programs.

The Food and Drug Administration has a site to help you learn the manufacturer and other information about your medications.

Sid Kirchheimer is the author of Scam-Proof Your Life (AARP Books/Sterling).

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