Fibromyalgia is a widespread, persistent pain disorder with symptoms of fatigue and sleep disturbance. Medicine for fibromyalgia can be expensive and long term. These can lead to substantial limitations in physical functioning and restricting one’s activities for daily living, thus, affecting and individual’s quality of life significantly. Disability due to fibromyalgia causes a significant burden on patients.
According to CDC, the average annual costs were $5,945 for fibromyalgia patients in 2012. A study published by the Journal of Managed Care Pharmacy reported that among all fibromyalgia patients, 66% were severe and incurred the highest out-of-pocket costs, including direct medical and non-medical expenses. The average monthly (and 3 monthly) out-of-pocket costs for fibromyalgia patients with mild, moderate, and severe were $43 ($140), $80 ($260), and $111 ($361), respectively. In the US alone, the highest number of fibromyalgia patients are prescribed antidepressants (56%), analgesics, other than anti-inflammatories (51%), and anti-epileptics (36%).
Financial assistance for medicine for fibromyalgia patients
There are several programs from the government, pharmaceutical companies, and non-profit organizations, which can help fibromyalgia patients alleviate or reduce their burdens to pay large of out-of-pocket medications costs. Some of them are mentioned below:
1. Government assistance programs
Disability due to fibromyalgia is a major concern among patients and a key reason for this is due to the financial burden. 30% of the fibromyalgia patients claim that they are not able to continue their job due to disability. Government programs offer low-cost health insurance plans to counterbalance costs. For this purpose, patients will require paying for premiums. Nevertheless, fibromyalgia patients are eligible for disability benefits provided by the federal government. Social Security Administration (SSA) offers disability benefits, including prescription benefits, and you may be able to get medicines at a reduced rate.
2. Partnership for Prescription Assistance
The Partnership for Prescription Assistance (PPA) is a program funded by pharmaceutical companies to assist patients who are low-income earners and are unable to access medication for fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia patients can find these drug assistance programs helpful to receive free or discounted medication. In addition, patients can also apply for a co-pay plan and can receive discounts on their prescription drugs. To qualify for these programs, you need to fill the application form with all the details, such as your name, your physician’s name, household income, and the name of the prescribed drug you are applying for.
Pfizer RxPathways patient assistance program provides Lyrica at no or low cost. A patient assistance program from Xubex offers tramadol/acetaminophen at low cost. Also, Cymbalta and Savella is offered at no or low cost by Lilly Cares and Actavis patient assistance programs respectively. Sometimes, these companies offer discount coupons for selected drugs as well.
3. Online medical fundraising
Online medical fundraising is becoming a popular way to raise money for treatment and to cover out-of-pocket costs to overcome severe financial debt. By following simple steps, you can raise money for the treatment of and medicine for fibromyalgia, including pain medications, anti-depressants and others. Register yourself on any medical fundraising website, explain your current situation/disability, and you can begin requesting for donations. You need to set up your personalized page with your complete details about you or your loved one facing fibromyalgia. Some of the information you will need to provide on the fundraising page includes details about the illness or disability, medical expenses, out-of-pocket costs, and most importantly how much you want to raise. Share this page with your friends, family, and other people in your contact list on Facebook, Twitter and other social networking websites. You can also share your personal videos and family photographs for emotional support. With the help of online fundraising, you maybe able to manage your out-of-pocket costs and other expenses effectively.
1. The Comparative Economic Burden of Mild, Moderate, and Severe Fibromyalgia: Results from a Retrospective Chart Review and Cross-Sectional Survey of Working-Age U.S. Adults: http://www.mecfs-vic.org.au/sites/www.mecfs-vic.org.au/files/comparative%20economic%20burden.pdf
2. Health-resource use and costs associated with fibromyalgia in France, Germany, and the United States: http://www.dovepress.com/health-resource-use-and-costs-associated-with-fibromyalgia-in-france-g-peer-reviewed-article-CEOR
3. Fibromyalgia Financial Assistance: http://peoplepledge.org/blog/fibromyalgia-financial-assistance/
4. Fibromyalgia Sufferers Claiming State Benefits: http://www.fibromyalgia-support.net/claimingbenefits.htm
5. Fibromylagia and Social Security Disability Insurance: https://www.allsup.com/About-SSDI/SSDI-Guidelines-by-Disability/Fibromyalgia