AmeriCares, a nonprofit global health and disaster relief organization that delivers medicines, medical supplies, and aid to people in need around the world, announced that it is providing a record quantity of respiratory medicines to help low-income and uninsured patients across the U.S. during National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month.
Pharmaceutical companies donated more than $2.4 million in packaged prescription medicines—enough to fill about 25,000 prescriptions—for the effort.
The donated products include both maintenance medications such as inhaled steroids, as well as rescue medications for patients experiencing asthma attacks or difficulty breathing. Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc. and AstraZeneca are the major sponsors, with both companies donating truckloads of medications for free clinics and community health centers nationwide.
Sunovion donated enough quick-relief medicines that are used to treat acute asthma attacks for approximately 22,000 children and adults suffering from asthma. AstraZeneca donated enough respiratory therapies to provide preventive treatment for more than 3,000 children and adults with asthma.
AmeriCares is making the medicines available to hundreds of free clinics and community health centers serving low-income and uninsured patients through its U.S. Medical Assistance Program. Safety net partners select the products they want from an online ordering system and AmeriCares delivers them free of charge.
“These are some of the most frequently prescribed respiratory medicines, and some of the most difficult for low-income patients to obtain,” notes Leslie McGuire, AmeriCares’ director of U.S. programs. “Uninsured and underinsured patients can receive treatment in safety net clinics and health centers, but without donated medicines many would leave with scripts in hand they can’t afford to fill. Thanks to AstraZeneca and Sunovion, we are helping patients avoid unnecessary emergency room visits and hospitalizations.”
AmeriCares made a special appeal to pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors to donate respiratory medications in May in recognition of National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 18 million adults and 7 million children in the U.S. suffer from asthma and struggle with coughing, wheezing and breathlessness—symptoms that can be triggered or exacerbated by seasonal allergies.
“Sunovion is very pleased to partner with AmeriCares to help our asthma medicines get to those patients most in need,” says Rick Russell, executive vice president and chief commercial officer of Sunovion. “We hope this donation will provide strong relief to many struggling to breathe.”
So far this year, AmeriCares U.S. Medical Assistance Program has provided more than $50 million worth of donated medicines to clinics and health centers serving the uninsured and underinsured. The program is rapidly expanding, and adding safety net partners every week.
“Since AstraZeneca began collaborating with AmeriCares in 2005, we have been able to provide important medications to the people that need them most and help to improve the lives of people with little or no access to basic health care,” says Jennifer McGovern, director, patient assistance programs, AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP.
Sunovion Pharmaceuticals is a pharmaceutical company dedicated to discovering, developing, and commercializing therapeutic products that advance the science of medicine in the psychiatry, neurology, and respiratory disease areas and improve the lives of patients and their families.
AstraZeneca is a biopharmaceutical business that focuses on the discovery, development, and commercialization of prescription medicines, primarily for the treatment of cardiovascular, metabolic, respiratory, inflammation, autoimmune, oncology, infection and neuroscience diseases.
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