BOSTON (CBS) – When Haralee Weintraub was diagnosed with breast cancer, it was not only physically and emotionally devastating, it was also a financial hardship.
“It ended up costing us $20,000 out of pocket from co-pays and drugs,” she said.
There were times when Haralee even considered giving up medications because she couldn’t afford them.
WBZ-TV’s Diana Perez reports
“It was scary to have to think that. This one pill that might ease my nausea is over $50. How nauseous am I?” she said.
Now a growing number of local governments, doctors offices and non-profit agencies are offering co-pay cards to help people like Haralee.
“Co-pay cards are sort of a relatively new phenomenon. We’ve really seen an increase in pharmaceutical companies putting these out,” explained Elizabeth Messenger of Needymeds.org, a non-profit based in Gloucester.
These co-pay assistance cards cover nearly 300 medications and anyone with insurance can use them.
Simply bring the card into your local pharmacy and get a discount off your co-pay at the register.
Haralee saves $50 every time she fills her prescription for Lunesta.
“So, I’m saving $600 a year,” she said.
A recent study in the Journal of Oncology found the price of medicine is directly related to whether it is taken.
In fact, cancer patients with medication bills of more than $500 a month were four times as likely to abandon their prescriptions as those with prescriptions costing $100 a month.
If you’d like information on how to get a co-pay card, log onto Needymeds.org.
The organization has helped Gloucester residents save a quarter of a million dollars on prescription drug co-payments.
If your health care provider doesn’t offer the cards, you can try going directly to the drug manufacturer to ask for a co-pay discount.