Free Prescription Drug Programs



Are you struggling with the cost of prescription drugs?

If you have no health insurance coverage or cannot afford prescriptions that are very expensive, you may be able to take advantage of a number of private programs that will provide some prescription drugs to you at no charge.

Most large drug manufacturers operate assistance programs to ensure that medicines are available to those who cannot afford them. The programs are generally intended for people who have limited financial resources, have no health insurance coverage, and who do not qualify for Medicaid or other government-sponsored health programs that provide prescription drugs.

Although the program guidelines to vary by manufacturer, most require an application be made to the drug manufacturer either by the patient or their physician, accompanied by a prescription signed by the physician. To qualify, you must meet income guidelines established by the manufacturer. If you are found to be eligible, most of these programs will provide a one to three month supply of the drug shipped directly either to you or your doctor.

It’s important to ask your doctor if the drug you are taking is available through one of these programs, especially since some programs may require your doctor to fill out forms or other paperwork.

There are a number of information sources to learn more about prescription drug assistance programs offered by manufacturers. One of the most comprehensive sources of program information is the Directory of Prescription Drug Patient Assistance Programs, compiled annually by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA). A copy of the directory is available by mail by calling PhRMA at 1-800-762-4636. The directory can also be downloaded directly from the Internet at

In Kentucky, the Kentucky Physicians Care Program provides one routine office visit to Kentuckians who have no health insurance or who do not qualify for Medicaid. Physicians, pharmacists, dentists, and other health care providers volunteer their time under this program.

The Kentucky Physicians Care Program also has agreements with several pharmaceutical companies to provide certain prescription drugs at no cost to eligible patients. To find out if you qualify for this program, inquire at your local Department of Community Based Services (DCBS) office. Additional information about the Kentucky Physicians Care Program is available by calling toll free at 1-800-633-8100 or by visiting the Health Kentucky website at:

If you are on Medicare, have no prescription drug coverage and have an annual income of less than $28,000 ($38,000 for couples) you may qualify for a new program called Together Rx. This program is provided by seven major pharmaceutical companies (Abbott Laboratories, AstraZeneca, Aventis Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, GlaxoSmithKline, Janssen Pharmaceutica Products, L.P., Novartis, and Ortho-McNeil Phamaceutical, Inc.) and offers savings on more than 150 widely prescribed medicines manufactured by these companies. Enrollment is free, and enrollees receive a card that entitles them to a discount of approximately 20 to 40% off the regular price of covered drugs. To apply for the program, call 1-800-865-7211 or download an application at

Medication for free? From who? What’s the catch?
Some pharmaceutical manufacturers have established programs to help make some of their drugs available free of charge to needy patients. Talk to your physician if you think you may be eligible for one of these programs.  Please be aware that these are not government-sponsored programs, and while many people have received free drugs, there is no guarantee that it will work for you.

Since these programs are voluntarily developed by manufacturers, each company determines its own eligibility criteria.  Many programs simply require that the physician determine that the patient cannot afford the drugs prescribed.  Other programs, especially those for very expensive drugs, require a patient to meet certain income or asset criteria. Private health insurance, third-party coverage, Medicaid, or Medicare may disqualify you from an indigent patient program.  Not all medications are available through these programs; consult the maker of your drugs directly.


Which pharmaceutical companies are involved in the program?

Table of Contents includes the following companies:
ALZA Pharmaceuticals
Amgen Inc
Astra Merck Inc
Astra USA Inc
Athena Neurosciences Inc
Bayer Corporation Pharmaceutical Division
Biogen Inc
Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals Inc
Bristol-Myers Squibb Company
Ciba Pharmaceuticals
DuPont Merck Pharmaceutical Company
Eisai Inc
Fujisawa USA Inc
Genentech Inc
Genetics Institute Inc
Genzyme Corporation
Gilead Sciences Inc
Glaxo Wellcome Inc
Hoechst Marion Roussel Inc
Janssen Pharmaceutical
Knoll Pharmaceutical Company
Lederle Laboratories
Eli Lilly and Company
The Liposome Company Inc
Merck & Co. Inc
Novartis Pharmaceuticals
Ortho Biotech Inc
Ortho Dermatological
Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical Inc
Pasteur Merieux Connaught
Pfizer Inc
Pharmacia & Upjohn Inc
Procter & Gamble Pharmaceuticals Inc
Rhone-Poulenc Rorer Inc
Roche Laboratories Inc
Roxane Laboratories Inc
Sandoz Pharmaceutical Corporation
Sanofi Pharmaceuticals
Schering Laboratories/ Key Pharmaceuticals
Searle, Serono Laboratories Inc
Sigma-Tau Pharmaceuticals Inc
SmithKline Beecham Pharmaceuticals
Solvay Pharmaceuticals Inc
3M Pharmaceuticals
Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories
Zeneca Pharmaceuticals

5 A Day for Better Health

5adayThe 5 A Day for Better Health Program is a large-scale public/private partnership between the fruit and vegetable industry and the U. S. Government. This national nutrition program seeks to increase the number of daily servings Americans eat of fruits and vegetables to five or more. Along with this main goal, the program works to inform Americans that eating fruits and vegetables can improve their health and may reduce the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases. The program provides consumers with easy ways to add more fruits and vegetables into their daily eating patterns.



Genital Herpes

Collage of a couple and images of herpes simplex virus. Most people infected with genital herpes do now know they have it.

Genital herpes is a common STD, and most people with genital herpes infection do not know they have it.

  • You can get genital herpes even if your partner shows no signs of the infection.
  • If you have any symptoms (like a sore on your genitals, especially one that periodically recurs) laboratory tests can help determine if you have genital herpes.
  • There is no cure for herpes, but treatment is available to reduce symptoms and decrease the risk of transmission to a partner.

CDC Fact SheetView Fact Sheet »
Signs, symptoms, transmission, treatment, prevention and more.

What You Need to Know About Genital HerpesExternal Web Site Icon – Video by Dr. Robyn Neblett Fanfair, Medical Officer in the Division of STD Prevention at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, summarizes important facts about genital herpes, including information on how herpes is spread, symptoms of the infection, and ways it is treated and prevented. (April 30, 2013)

How You Can Prevent Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Get the Facts

woman with laptop

Arm yourself with basic information about STDs: How are these diseases spread? How can you protect yourself? What are the treatment options? Learn the answers to these questions by reading the STD Fact Sheets.

Take Control

You have the facts; now protect yourself and your sexual partners. Effective strategies for reducing STD risk include:
couple holding hands


The most reliable way to avoid infection is to not have sex (i.e., anal, vaginal or oral).

girl being vaccinated


Vaccines are safe, effective, and recommended ways to prevent hepatitis B and HPV. HPV vaccinesfor males and females can protect against some of the most common types of HPV. It is best to get all three doses (shots) before becoming sexually active. However,  HPV vaccines are recommended for all teen girls and women through age 26 and all teen boys and men through age 21, who did not get all three doses of the vaccine when they were younger. You should also get vaccinated for hepatitis B if you were not vaccinated when you were younger.

couple embracing

Mutual monogamy:

Mutual monogamy means that you agree to be sexually active with only one person, who has agreed to be sexually active only with you. Being in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner is one of the most reliable ways to avoid STDs. But you must both be certain you are not infected with STDs. It is important to have an open and honest conversation with your partner.

couple in grassy field

Reduced number of sex partners:

Reducing your number of sex partners can decrease your risk for STDs. It is still important that you and your partner get tested, and that you share your test results with one another.



Correct and consistent use of the male latex condom is highly effective in reducing STD transmission. Use a condom every time you have anal, vaginal, or oral sex.

Put Yourself to the Test

doctor and patient

Knowing your STD status is a critical step to stopping STD transmission. If you know you are infected you can take steps to protect yourself and your partners.

Be sure to ask your healthcare provider to test you for STDs — asking is the only way to know whether you are receiving the right tests. And don’t forget to tell your partner to ask a healthcare provider about STD testing as well.

Many STDs can be easily diagnosed and treated. If either you or your partner is infected, both of you need to receive treatment at the same time to avoid getting re-infected.

You can quickly find a place to be tested for STDs by entering your zip code in the form below.



How Do Diabetes Complications Affect African Americans?


Compared with white Americans, African Americans experience higher rates of diabetes complications such as eye disease, kidney failure, and amputations. They also experience greater disability from these complications. Some factors that influence the frequency of these complications, such as high blood glucose levels, abnormal blood lipids, high blood pressure, and cigarette smoking, can be influenced by proper diabetes management.

Eye Disease

Diabetic retinopathy is a deterioration of the blood vessels in the eye that is caused by high blood glucose. It can lead to impaired vision and, ultimately, to blindness. The frequency of diabetic retinopathy is 40 percent to 50 percent higher in African Americans than in white Americans, according to NHANES III data.  Retinopathy may also occur more frequently in African Americans than in whites because of their higher rate of hypertension. Although blindness caused by diabetic retinopathy is believed to be more frequent in African Americans than in whites, there are no valid studies that compare rates of blindness between the two groups.

Kidney Failure

African Americans with diabetes experience kidney failure, also called end-stage renal disease (ESRD), about four times more often than diabetic white Americans. In 1995, there were 27,258 new cases of ESRD attributed to diabetes in African Americans. Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure and accounted for 43 percent of the new cases of ESRD among African Americans during 1992-1996. Hypertension, the second leading cause of ESRD, accounted for 42 percent of cases. In spite of their high rates of ESRD, African Americans have better survival rates after they develop kidney failure than white Americans.


Based on the U.S. hospital discharge survey, there were about 13,000 amputations among African American diabetic individuals in 1994, which involved 155,000 days in the hospital. African Americans with diabetes are much more likely to undergo a lower-extremity amputation than white or Hispanic Americans with diabetes. The hospitalization rate of amputations for African Americans was 9.3 per 1,000 patients in 1994, compared with 5.8 per 1,000 white diabetic patients. However, the average length of hospital stay was lower for African Americans (12.1 days) than for white Americans (16.5 days). More on this story..

, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) Web site, provides accurate, up-to-date information on many types of diabetes, information on clinical trials, resources for people dealing with diabetes, and information for researchers and health professionals.

Digital Mammography in the 21st Century


Reported by Michael Miller
September 4, 2001

On September 4, 2001, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the American College of Radiology Imaging Network (ACRIN) launched a multicenter study to determine if digital mammography meets or exceeds capabilities, costs, benefits, and other factors, when compared to standard film mammography for the detection of breast cancer. Continue reading “Digital Mammography in the 21st Century”