Bus brings residents relief from prescription costs

Frances Apodaca of Clovis attended Wednesday’s “Help is Here Express” national bus tour at the Clovis-Carver Public Library. The program helps low-income residents pay for prescription drugs. (CNJ staff photo: Andy DeLisle)

By Tonya Fennell: CNJ staff writer

Having suffered a heart attack, Frances Apodaca depends on three prescription drugs to remain healthy.

The 49-year-old Clovis resident said she has no insurance and struggles to pay a weekly $110 pharmacy bill.

But on Wednesday morning, Apodaca climbed aboard a state-of-the-art bus to seek assistance in locating programs that would help her pay for her prescriptions.

The bus, which is called the “Help is Here Express,” is sponsored by America’s pharmaceutical research companies. The goal of the bus tour is to help low-income people find programs that provide prescription medicines for free or nearly free, according to Jennifer Page, spokesperson for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.

“We (Help is Here Express) have already helped 14,000 people in New Mexico (find patient assistance programs),” Page said. “It’s amazing to see how many people are helped.”

The bus, which parked at the Clovis-Carver Public Library, was staffed by two trained specialists and was equipped with computers and cell phones.

Within 20 minutes of making contact with a specialist on the bus, Apodaca was given applications to apply for four programs that would significantly lower the cost of her medications.

A PhRMA trained specialist carefully explained the process Apodaca needed to follow once she returned home.

Apodaca was pleased to discover one of the programs could save her more than $30 on a single prescription.

“I was hoping they could help,” Apodaca said, “and it turned out they were very helpful.”

“If they missed the bus,” Page said, “there are still ways to qualify from the comfort of their own homes.”

Fast fact
To find out if you qualify, call (888) 477-2669 or visit www.pparx.org