Lilly offers $12 flat fee patient assistance program

May 1, 2002

Pharmaceutical Representative

Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Co. has announced the creation of the LillyAnswers patient assistance program.

Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Co. has announced the creation of the LillyAnswers patient assistance program. The program includes the LillyAnswers card, which allows low-income seniors without prescription drug coverage to pay a flat fee of $12 for a 30-day supply of any Lilly retail drug. Seniors with an annual income below $18,000 per individual or $24,000 per household, with no prescription drug coverage, are eligible for the LillyAnswers program, which began March 5. Participating pharmacies were set to begin accepting the card April 1, and once a patient receives a LillyAnswers card in the mail, he or she will be covered for 12 months for Lilly retail products purchased at participating pharmacies.

"LillyAnswers will provide real savings, right away, to Medicare beneficiaries in the greatest need," said Sidney Taurel, chairman of the board, president and chief executive officer of Eli Lilly. "Families, caregivers, communities and companies such as ours all recognize many seniors need extra assistance at this time. While developing innovative medicines is our mission, we know that individuals must have access to those medicines in order for that innovation to be of any real value. We hope and expect that Congress will enact federal legislation that provides broad prescription drug coverage to all seniors. In the meantime, we decided to act now in order to provide this assistance to individuals in need."

Some drugs covered by the card include Evista® (raloxifine HCl) for osteoporosis, Humulin® (recombinant human insulin) and Humalog® (insulin lispro injection, rDNA origin) for diabetes, Prozac® (fluoxetine HCl) for depression, and Zyprexa® (olanzapine) for schizophrenia.

In addition to the LillyAnswers card, the program will include One Care Street, a program in which patients can build a personalized information resource, complete with nutritional guidance, exercise recommendations, alternative treatments and medicines, and step-by-step health action guides.

"Lilly has taken an important step in helping the neediest of seniors gain access to critical prescription drugs," said U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson. "This innovative approach demonstrates the private sector's willingness to address this important issue between now and the time we implement Medicare reform. We thank them for stepping forward."

More to be done

Though the Washington-based AARP did endorse the program, the organization released a statement saying that patient assistance programs are not a substitute for a Medicare prescription drug benefit.

"AARP is pleased that Eli Lilly and Co. is offering a useful new program to assist low-income Medicare beneficiaries to afford the Lilly medications they need," said AARP Chief Executive Officer Bill Novelli. "It is important to note that neither the Lilly program, nor other company-sponsored discount cards or plans, are substitutes for affordable prescription drug coverage in Medicare. Virtually all Medicare beneficiaries are reeling from soaring drug costs, not just those with the lowest incomes or those who use the most medicine." PR

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