The Patients in Need® ProgramModern science can work miracles, and these often take the form of pharmaceuticals that can enhance quality of life or mean the difference between life and death for millions of Americans. Unfortunately, not every American can take advantage of these life-saving products. Many patients cannot afford to pay for needed medications out-of-pocket and lack insurance coverage or access to government assistance. In fact, as many as 37 million Americans are denied important medical therapies for economic reasons.
Searle's philosophy is that no patient should go without a potentially life-saving therapy because of an inability to pay. Our response to this pressing social concern is the Patients in Need® program. For nearly 10 years, Patients in Need has provided certain Searle medications free to patients who fall below the poverty line and who do not have any form of third-party healthcare insurance coverage. Patients who qualify can receive without cost any one of eight cardiovascular compounds, as well as an antibiotic and a medication that prevents NSAID-induced ulcers. Searle has also pledged to include in the program all new drugs that treat life-threatening diseases as the company introduces them in the U.S. market. To date, more than 15 million months of therapy have been distributed free of charge.
Certificates for free prescriptions of eligible Searle products are made available to all doctors and clinics in the U.S. who wish to participate in the program. Patient qualification is left to each physician's discretion. Patients who are considered eligible are given a certificate along with their prescription that can be used as payment at any pharmacy.
The Patients in Know® Program
One of the disturbing facts of medicine is that a large percentage of patients do not understand the drugs they take. For example, one survey showed that 60 percent of prescription users say they don't remember key instructions that their physicians relay about their medications. In addition, nearly half of patients who get their prescriptions filled do not comply with dosing instructions. Unfortunately, these trends can drastically impact the effectiveness of drug therapy.
To improve patient knowledge about prescribed treatments and increase compliance, Searle instituted the Patients in the Know® program, the first comprehensive effort by a pharmaceutical company to provide easy-to-understand information about its prescription physicians worldwide. Now in its seventh year, the program supplies participating physicians with information sheets that they can distribute to help assist patient understanding and recall of verbal instructions. Unlike the technical material that accompanies all prescription products in the U.S., the sheets are written in simple terms that the lay person can easily comprehend.
It is not uncommon that a pharmaceutical that helps millions of patients will not work in a select few. For these patients, the cost of therapy is doubled: They must purchase a second medication as the first is relegated to the back of the medicine cabinet.
Searle believes the pharmaceutical industry should stand behind its products in the same way that other manufacturers do. For this reason, it introduced the Searle Patient Promise program in the U.S., guaranteeing a complete refund if a Searle product does not achieve a desired therapeutic benefit as evaluated by the patient's personal physician. The program, which has been in place since 1987, eliminates any financial risk to patients who are prescribed a Searle medication.
In order to qualify for a refund under the program, patients must request a special form from their physician. The physician states on the form that the medication did not deliver the desired result. The patient completes the remainder of the form and sends it to Searle with the unused portion of the most recently filled prescription and the purchase receipt.