Patient Assistance Programs (PAP)


Patient Assistance Programs (PAP)

Patient Assistance Programs are set up by drug companies to provide free or low cost medications to people who cannot afford to buy their medications. Most brand name drugs are found in these programs. Companies offer these programs voluntarily; the government does not require them to provide free medicine. Nearly all major pharmaceutical companies provide some type of Patient Assistance Programs. PAP may also be referred to as Medication Assistance Programs, Indigent Drug Programs and or Charitable Drug Program.

Who is Eligible?

There is no unified standard of eligibility for these programs. Each drug company may have different rules. Usually an individual must: 

  • Be a U.S. citizen or legal resident
  • Have no prescription insurance coverage
  • Have a low income

Note: If you are just over the income limit, some companies will accept an appeal letter or a letter of medical necessity from your doctor. The letter should also explain the financial hardship.

What does it Cost?

Generally there is no fee to apply for assistance. Some might have a one time processing fee but might refund if they are unable to find you the assistance you need. If there are any costs for the program, it will be displayed in the profile for the drug company whose medication you are inquiring about. If you get your medication through a local pharmacy, you may be charged up to a $25 co-pay. This is not imposed by the pharmaceutical company, but by the pharmacy you are working with.

How to Apply?

  • Ask your doctor for an application
  • Get an application directly from the drug company¬†
  • Seek help of a social worker or pharmacist

Search this comprehensive list of Patient Assistance Programs for one that will work for you.