Dear AstraZeneca – AZ&Me Prescription Savings Program,
Recently I applied to your program as I do not have insurance and cannot afford my medications. In return you sent me an email that said:
Thank you for your interest in the AZ&Me Prescription Savings Program. Based on the information you provided, we have determined that you may be eligible to receive your AstraZeneca medicine(s) from the following alternate funding source or co-pay assistance program…
I called your service line and explained – I’m in Texas. No single adult in Texas without children, not pregnant, and not found disabled are eligible for Medicaid. You said I still had to apply and get a denial letter before you would help me.
Luckily, I know that I am not eligible in Texas and I wasn’t about to fill out the 45 page (or so) form and send in a bunch of documents to get a denial from Texas for Medicaid. I also knew to ask for a supervisor. When the supervisor verified that I wouldn’t be Medicaid eligible, she determined that I didn’t need to go to all the trouble to apply for Medicaid and get a denial.
Not everyone applying for help knows that they aren’t eligible for Texas Medicaid. Many people would go through the intense application process and spend their time and energy only to be denied. Many people wouldn’t know to ask for a supervisor. Many would give up and not get their medicines.
Why would you make people go through this? You have access to state laws on eligibility. NO OTHER PROGRAM that I’ve applied for has asked for a denial.
Do you really want to help patients? Do you really want to give back to the community whose money you take to run your clinical trials?
What is worse about this, not only does it seem you want to make sure you aren’t helping patients applying for health, it seems you are money hungry enough to want the state to make sure to pay you. You want to profit off the poor. Let me say that again…
YOU WANT TO PROFIT OFF THE POOR!
You are one of the top 10 most profitable pharmaceutical industries in the world. You raked in $27.97 BILLION in revenue! Do you really need me or anyone without insurance and without a way to afford medications to ensure your profit margins stay inflated? Do you really need to place an undue burden on those asking for help?
The cost for your drugs are the patient’s costs to live. You have a social responsibility to those you ask to pay you for what should be a public good.
You are not living up to the claims on your website:
We believe it’s not enough for us to simply make medicines. We have to make sure that the people who need those medicines can get them.
I implore you to reconsider your eligibility policies for the AZ&Me Prescription Savings Program.
For now, you should be ashamed of yourselves!
Erin M. Gilmer
For those looking for prescription assistance programs, please visit needymeds.org
Please also see my 4 part series on the Costs to Live – the truth about pharmaceutical companies profiting off patients.