3 vials of medications with high cost price tags around each.

Affording Our Medications

I had no insurance when I was first diagnosed with alpha-1 (Genetic COPD). Trying to find the money to pay for my prescriptions was so hard.

After going without at times, scrimping, and saving or borrowing money from others, it was more challenging to pay for my medications. It became even harder when I finally applied for disability a year later.

Affording medications when unemployed

I went from working a full-time and part-time job to not working. This was a very tough loss to our family financially. They finally approved me for disability four years after applying after three denials.

I was on oxygen that whole time and met all the criteria, which was awful. It also takes two years of being on disability before you even qualify for Medicare, where I am located.

While waiting for that disability to go thru, I had the great help of my favorite nurse. She steered me in the right direction for assistance with my meds.

Even when I finally got insurance, some prices were still outrageous. One thing I have noticed over the years in most of the COPD and alpha-1 support groups is the same worry that I had about being able to afford the medications that we are prescribed, especially without insurance.

Medication assistance programs available

Here is a list of more commonly used COPD and alpha-1 meds on GoodRX. GoodRX is a drug discount program that is supposed to give you the best available price for medications.1

GoodRx for COPD medications

  • Advair
  • Symbicort
  • Spiriva
  • Perforomist
  • Incruse Ellipta
  • Proair

Prices may vary depending on your location.

Even with discounts prices might still be high. It just goes to show you how much they mark the medications up, which is so frustrating.

Other online drug assistance programs

Here is a list of some drug assistance programs that are available online:2-6

  • RX Advocates
  • SCBN Perscription Advocacy
  • RxAssist
  • GSK Patient Assistance Program
  • Affordability by AstraZeneca

If you have a genetic type of COPD, like alpha-1, and have to take infusions, you can go to the NORD (National Organization for Rare Disorders) website for help at rarediseases.org.7

There is a new company from Mark Cuban that I have just discovered while writing this article, and it sounds very promising. It is called Cost Plus Drug Company. The website states that “We started Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Company because every American should have access to safe, affordable medicines. ” If you go to the website and type in the medicine that you are looking for or the illness that you have, it will give you a price list for the medications. It will give you the price without insurance and then will list their price.8

There are quite a few other drugs that people with COPD use and websites that I haven't mentioned.

If you look up the drug company's website, you can usually find a link for patient assistance there. I hope this has been helpful to those of you who are struggling.

Other options are to see if your doctor has any free samples available and to talk to your nurse for help with drug company applications. Most nurses will help you with anything that you need.

What have you found to be helpful? I’d love to hear your feedback.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The COPD.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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