Prescription Assistance Programs


The branded pharmaceutical industry has developed a number of patient assistance programs to ensure that therapy is accessible to patients in need. Prescription Assistance Programs (PAP’s) are one of the longest running support programs. Virtually every pharmaceutical company offers a PAP, which provides free or low cost medication to patients who do not have the means to afford their medicine otherwise. On an annual basis, US pharmaceutical companies give away hundreds of millions of dollars through medications associated with PAP's.

Each drug company has its own patient assistance program to help people of all ages (including children) for the medicines it manufactures. Eligibility requirements vary from one program to another. Some programs help people on Medicare but others do not.

In most cases, private prescription assistance programs are available for US residents/citizens who:

  • Do not have prescription drug insurance that covers the needed medicines.
  • Meet the income limits (normally 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.
  • Apply by sending in an application to the pharmaceutical company who manufactures the medication they need. If a patient needs several drugs made by different manufacturers, they usually will have to apply to each company separately. Most applications have a portion for the patient to fill in and a portion for their healthcare provider to complete. The application may require a proof of income and the patient to reapply annually.

" As a patient, if you meet the PAP qualifications, you will usually get:

  • Your prescription medicine free of charge or at a low cost.
  • The medicine sent to your home, your doctor's office, or your pharmacy, depending on the program.
  • Refills for up to a year.


Many States offer prescription assistance programs. The state run PAP’s can be divided into 2 general categories. Subsidy Programs (often referred to as SPAPs) or Discount Programs.

Most SPAPs are subsidy programs that utilize state funds to pay for a portion of the prescription costs. The programs are usually only for a defined segment of the state population. An eligible patient from the defined population must meet enrollment criteria by completing an application.

State Discount Programs are usually programs that have been set up by some states for residents to gain access to state- negotiated price reductions, discount cards, and multi-agency purchase arrangements which can affect defined segments of the state population.

Some states may have more than one program and each state is different in its eligibility requirements and application process. To our knowledge, offers the most extensive database of private and public prescription assistance programs. Learn where to access and print the most up to date information and the current application. Simply enter the medication name into the search box and see if the prescription medications you need have a PAP that may help.