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Pfizer Launches Free Medicines Program For Newly Unemployed Americans -- Employees Inspire Plan to Help People Continue Pfizer Therapy During Unprecedented Economic Times.        NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Pfizer Inc announced today that it will launch an innovative program to help eligible unemployed Americans and their families who have lost their health insurance maintain access to their Pfizer medicines for free. The inspiration for the new program, called MAINTAIN™ (Medicines Assistance for Those who Are in Need), was generated by Pfizer employees who were witnessing friends, family and neighbors struggle to make ends meet after losing their jobs.

“We all know people who have been laid off recently and have lost their health insurance, making it difficult for them to pay for health care,” said Dr. Jorge Puente, Pfizer’s regional president of Worldwide Pharmaceuticals, a leading champion of the initiative. “We thought there must be some way we could help recently unemployed people who are taking Pfizer medicines to continue treatment during these challenging economic times.”

The program, which applies regardless of prior family income, will be open for enrollment through December 31, 2009 and applies to eligible Americans who have become unemployed since January 1, 2009. It is designed to help recently unemployed Americans and their families who have lost their insurance and who are taking Pfizer medicines to continue treatment for free for up to one year. Nearly 46 million Americans lack health insurance coverage, and that number is increasing as unemployment rates reach their highest levels in 25 years.

Pfizer employees proposed the idea of MAINTAIN to the company’s senior leadership team just within the last month. Pfizer employees also asked to be able to do their part by donating their own money to the program, and the Pfizer Foundation will match their donations.

“The current economic environment has added considerable new stress to the daily life of millions of hard-working Americans, and our colleagues are responding to help their neighbors in the communities where they reside,” said Jeffrey B. Kindler, chairman and chief executive officer of Pfizer. “The speed with which we created and approved this program is proof of our commitment to help people access the medicines they need to live healthier lives. With the launch of this initiative, which I am proud to say was proposed by our colleagues, we are doing what we can to ensure that recent loss of employment does not preclude people from managing their health.”

Eligibility requirements of the new program include: Loss of employment since January 1, 2009 Prescribed and taking a Pfizer medicine for at least 3 months prior to becoming unemployed and enrolling in the program Lack of prescription drug coverage Can attest to financial hardship

People who qualify will receive their Pfizer medicines for free for up to 12 months or until they become re-insured (whichever comes first). More than 70 Pfizer primary care medicines will be available through the program.

To make it easy for people to apply, the program will be integrated into Pfizer’s existing family of patient assistance programs called Pfizer Helpful Answers®. A single point of entry makes it easy to get help: All of Pfizer’s patient assistance programs, including the new program, can be reached by calling a single phone number (1-866-706-2400) or by visiting www.PfizerHelpfulAnswers.com Those who contact Pfizer Helpful Answers in need of medicines made by another company will be directed to the Partnership for Prescription Assistance, a pharmaceutical industry initiative that serves to raise awareness of, and boost enrollment in, more than 475 public and private patient assistance programs.

The new program will be fully operational on July 1, 2009. However, people in need now can call 1-866-706-2400 for help. MAINTAIN is a part of Pfizer Helpful Answers, a joint program of Pfizer Inc and the Pfizer Patient Assistance Foundation.

About Pfizer Helpful Answers®

Pfizer Helpful Answers is a family of patient assistance programs for the uninsured and underinsured who need help getting Pfizer medicines. Today, it is the largest and most extensive initiative in the U.S. Pfizer Helpful Answers provides Pfizer medicines for free or at a savings to patients who qualify. Some programs also offer reimbursement support services for people with insurance. Pfizer Helpful Answers is a joint program of Pfizer Inc and the Pfizer Patient Assistance Foundation™.

About Pfizer Inc

Founded in 1849, Pfizer is the world's premier biopharmaceutical company taking new approaches to better health. We discover, develop, manufacture and deliver quality, safe and effective prescription medicines to treat and help prevent disease for both people and animals. We also partner with healthcare providers, governments and local communities around the world to expand access to our medicines and to provide better quality health care and health system support. At Pfizer, more than 80,000 colleagues in more than 90 countries work every day to help people stay happier and healthier longer and reduce the human and economic burden of disease worldwide.

Contacts Pfizer Inc
Chris Loder, 212-733-7897
Jennifer Davis, 212-733-0717                       

Free Antibiotic Prescriptions -- First of it's kind program makes critical drugs available to all.  Initial program available immediately in Publix Super Markets in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Alabama.  Other pharmacies expected to react with similar programs.  Beginning today, Publix Super Markets is offering a free prescription drug program at its 684 Publix Pharmacies for the following oral antibiotics:

Sulfamethoxazole/Trimethoprim (SMZ-TMP)
Ciprofloxacin (excluding ciprofloxacin XR)
Penicillin VK
Ampicillin and
Erythromycin (excluding Ery-Tab)

These antibiotics account for almost 50 percent of the generic, pediatric prescriptions filled at Publix. New or current customers simply need to provide their Publix pharmacist with their prescription, up to a 14-day supply, and it will be filled at no charge. Publix is not limiting the number of prescriptions customers may fill for free.                                                                    

"Health and wellness is crucial to every Floridian's quality of life and paramount to the vitality of our state," said Florida Governor Charlie Crist. "We appreciate great partners like Publix Super Markets working to further provide affordability and accessibility to quality prescription drugs for working families and seniors."

"We are always striving to provide our customers with service and value," said Dwaine Stevens, Publix media and community relations manager. "With health care and prescription costs on the rise, our free prescription drug program will reinforce our commitment to the total health and wellness of our customers and their families."

The free antibiotics are offered to customers regardless of their prescription insurance provider.

Article provided by The Emergency Email & Wireless Network http://www.emergencyemail.org


Website Offers Free 24 Hour Health Information To Floridians   FLHealthSource.com is available to address concerns and inquiries -- Florida Department of Health (DOH) Secretary M. Rony François, M.D., M.S.P.H., Ph.D., encouraged health care consumers to visit www.FLHealthSource.com whenever they need information about a licensed health care professional.

"It is important for Floridians to have as much information as possible when making health care decisions," said Dr. François. "Knowing about your current and potential health care professionals will allow you to make an informed choice for both you and your family."

DOH's Division of Medical Quality Assurance (MQA) maintains FLHealthSource.com. The site provides health care consumers with a host of information, including license status, office address, and disciplinary information for all health care professionals licensed in Florida.

The site also provides additional information for the five profiled professions –medical doctors, osteopathic physicians, chiropractic physicians, podiatric physicians and advanced registered nurse practitioners (ARNPs), including:education and trainingacademic appointmentsspecialty certificationfinancial responsibilitydisciplinary historyliability claims criminal activity

The mission of MQA is to protect and promote the health of all persons in Florida by diligently regulating health care practitioners and facilities. MQA, in conjunction with 22 boards and six councils, regulates six types of facilities and more than 40 health care professions. MQA evaluates the credentials of all applicants for licensure, issues licenses, analyzes and investigates complaints, inspects facilities, assists in prosecuting practice act violations, combats unlicensed activity and provides credential and discipline history about licensees to the public.

DOH promotes and protects the health and safety of all people in Florida through the delivery of quality public health services and the promotion of health care standards. For more information please visit the DOH Web site at www.doh.state.fl.us or visit www.FLHealthSource.com for information regarding health care professionals.  DOH contact: Thometta Cozart, 850-245-4111.

Drug Discount Program - A free savings program that helps eligible participants save approximately 25%-40% and sometimes more on over 275 brand-name prescription drugs and other prescription products, as well as savings on a wide range of generic drugs.  To determine if you're eligible and to apply for a drug-discount card call 1-800-444-4106 Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. or apply online at www.togetherrxaccess.com.  

Merck Announces New Uninsured Discount Program Targeted to More Than 45 Million Patients Without Drug Coverage.  The Merck Prescription Discount Program, provides all uninsured Americans, regardless of age or income, with easy and immediate access to discounts of 15 to 40 percent off many Merck medicines.  http://www.merck.com/merckhelps/

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