PharmAffordable: California’s First $2 Charitable Generic Drug Plan

By Jeffrey Lewis and Dr. Christina Garcia

With rising inflation, skyrocketing gasoline prices, and families financially crippled by mounting food costs, some people must forgo or delay filling or refilling life-saving medications because they can no longer afford them, even where they have insurance. While no one in financial distress should have to choose between food, medicine or being able to drive to work, that is today’s reality.

Nothing is being done to insulate working families against rising insurance costs, which include ever-increasing prescription drug co-payments. While Washington could address these challenges, nothing has happened. As the suffering grows, the political rhetoric intensifies.

It is time to de-escalate the rhetoric with a real solution. Legacy Health Endowment and the EMC Health Foundation, in collaboration with TIN Rx, a local pharmacy in Turlock, have created PharmAffordable, a $2 charitable generic drug program covering more than 690 generic medications.

PharmAffordable targets financially needy individuals and families with employer-provided insurance as well as the uninsured. People enrolled in Medi-Cal, Medicare and Tricare (Veterans benefits) are not eligible due to special rules imposed by those programs, unfortunately.

PharmAffordable is a pilot charitable program limited to only residents of the following communities and ZIP codes: 

95301 Atwater, Buhach
95303 Ballico
95307 Ceres
95313 Crows Landing 
95315 Delhi
95316 Denair, Montpelier
95322Gustine, Santa Nella
95324 Hilmar, Irwin 
95326 Hughson
95328 Keyes
95334 Livingston, Arena
95358 Modesto, Bret Harte
95360 Newman, Hills Ferry
95363 Patterson, Diablo Grande, Grayson, Westley
95374 Stevinson
95380-95382Turlock, Cortez
95388Winton, Cressey

To be eligible, people must also certify that they are in financial distress such that they cannot afford either the regular price of the medications or their insurance copay or deductible for the same medications.  Simply take your prescription to the TIN Rx pharmacy or ask them to have your existing prescriptions transferred to TIN Rx.

The savings could amount to hundreds of dollars a year in many cases. For instance, take a family in which the wife regularly takes medication for a thyroid issue and her husband takes medication for high blood pressure. Their co-pays currently range from $10 to $65 per month. Under PharmAffordable, their co-pays would both be $2 a month – saving them about $700 annually.

With more than 690 commonly prescribed generic medications available under PharmAffordable, there are many opportunities for families in financial distress to save money that can be used for food, gas, rent, or clothing, or saved for a college education.

Families are struggling. They are being forced to make difficult choices, and some involve potentially life-threatening healthcare decisions. We are collaborating on a solution through innovation, negotiation, and stewardship. PharmAffordable is not a panacea, but it is an essential first step in disrupting the status quo and putting families first.

Jeffrey Lewis is President and CEO of EMC Health Foundation and Legacy Health Endowment, and Dr. Christina Garcia is the founder and CEO of TIN Rx. The views expressed are those of the authors.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply