Thursday, May 7, 2009

Patient assistance programs

With the recent economic times, money is short in many people's lives. With it being more and more difficult to afford medications, new additions to assistance programs for Crohn's disease warrant discussion.

Those of us with Crohn's disease have all quickly learned, it can be an expensive going through a flare or trying to maintain health during an off period.

I am confident that, if I had kept all the receipts that I have spent thousands of dollars (this is out of pocket not insurance) on medications, doctors visits, travel to and from clinics, as well as hospital stays and emergencies, not to mention the astronomical cost of surgery, which is the last (though sadly only) resort for those with severe cases of Crohn's.

With this in mind, it would be prudent to share with the general Crohn’s suffering public, programs that are out there to assist those with lower incomes that are dealing with this often debilitating disease.

In my own experience I have found these programs to be a life saver, in a very literal sense. I would encourage those who are eligible to put forth the time and effort necessary to apply, be approved and participate in these programs for the benefit of yourself and your family.

For some this might require a small amount of humility and willingness to be helped, as the process requires full disclosure of financial status that, to some, is of a personal sensitive nature. Remember, Crohn’s is a disease that can take all you have, and without help and support can be nearly impossible to manage.

Currently, I use Humira, a biological injection pen once every week as part of my Crohn’s regimen. This would not be possible without the Abbott Foundations (the makers of the drug) Patient Assistance Program, as the medicine cost approximately $5,000 per month, quite unaffordable without insurance or out of pocket.

For those who are currently on Humira and not participating in the program, I would strongly encourage you to do so. See for more information on HUMIRA

The pen and syringe form of Humira (left)

Additionally other commonly used medications for mild, moderate and severe Crohn’s have programs to make them more affordable to literally free.

Asacol, a mesalamine delayed release tablet, (which at one time I was taking 12 of a day) can be a great tool in the fight against flare ups. The patient assistance program of this medication is another excellent resource. See for more information on ASACOL

Asacol tablets (left)

Remicade, another biological therapy, made from mice antibodies, can be attained from an excellent patient assistance program, which not only helps with getting the medication, but in my opinion and experience, has the best follow up programs to check on your progress and needs while receiving treatment (which is administered through IV infusion) See for more information on REMICADE

While I have mentioned only a few medications that might be used to treat Crohn’s disease, there are many other avenues to receive different medications and treatments. I would again strongly encourage one to explore all these options before discounting oneself to having access to these benefits.

If there are any out there that have found more medications with assistance programs, please post them here for others to enjoy the benefits of. Additionally if anyone has heard small pieces of news, leave comments and I’ll do my best to look into it and give timely updates on what I can find from the most reputable sources.


  1. I just happened upon you're blog today and want to mention that I have used the patient assistance program for asacol tablets over the past couple of years and it is a simple process and well worth the results. There is no way that I would have been able to afford all the medication that I've needed on my current salary and I am so thankful that this program exists. Any one with a low income and in need of medication should definitely check it out.

  2. WebPAP is an enterprise software solution for healthcare providers to manage the pharmaceutical companies Patient Assistance Programs (PAP applications PAP Software). Log on