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By The Skanner News | The Skanner News
Published: 14 June 2006

Suzi Lazzari, left, enrollment specialist with the Partnership for Prescription Assistance, helps Andre Billingsley gather information for his wife. The partnership's "Help is Here Express" rolled through North Portland on June 12, stopping at the Salvation Army Moore Street  Community Center to inform people about the options available to them for prescription assistance.

Needy Oregonians who have limited access to prescription medications this week jumped on board the "Help is Here Express," a traveling education center making its way across the country to raise awareness and educate the public about programs that help patients afford prescriptions.

The bus was parked at the Salvation Army's Moore Street Community Center on Monday, then headed to Salem, Eugene and Medford.

The bus is a part of the Partnership for Prescription Assistance, a national program to help patients gain access to prescription medicines.

The Partnership for Prescription Assistance is matching the people of Oregon who are uninsured or underinsured, to patient assistance programs that may help them get the medicines they need for free or nearly free.

Since its launch in April 2005, the program — sponsored by America's pharmaceutical research companies working with doctors, pharmacists, health care providers and community groups — has matched more than 2.3 million patients nationally and more than 31,000 in Oregon.

"The Partnership for Prescription Assistance is changing thousands of lives everyday," said Billy Tauzin, PhRMA president and CEO. "No one's helped by a medicine that sits on the shelf and is out of reach financially … .We will keep coming back to Oregon as long as there are people who need our help."

The Partnership for PrescriptionAssistance claims to be the only program that provides a single point of access to more than 475 public and private patient assistance programs, including more than 180 programs offered by pharmaceutical companies.

The "Help is Here Express" bus is equipped with computer terminals and phones to make it easy for patients to learn about the assistance programs onsite.

More than 70 national groups, including the American Academy of Family Physicians, Easter Seals, National Alliance for Hispanic Health, National Urban League, United Way of America, as well as a growing list of state and local organizations, are helping to spread the word about the program.

"The 'Help is Here Express' is an innovative way to increase awareness of a program that can benefit the millions of people who cannot afford their prescription medicines," said Sally Norby, executive director of the American DiabetesAssociation-Oregon Area.

To find out if there are patient assistance programs that may meet their needs, patients should call toll-free 1-888-477-2669 to speak with a trained specialist, or visit www.pparx.org.

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