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Pharmaceutical companies provide free or discounted medications to millions of patients each year. The NeedyMeds website provides information about accessing drug assistance programs, through pharmaceutical companies, state and local drug assistance programs. The pharmaceutical companies' trade organization, PhRMA, has created a website in conjunction with other groups to assist those needing prescription drugs. Information is available at www.pparx.com or by telephoning 1-888-477-2669.

Government Programs – Veterans are entitled to a bevy of government assistance programs. These benefits are based on several different eligibility criteria, and not all who served are eligible for all benefits. Information about the specifics of eligibility is available online or by telephoning the VA Health Benefits Service Center at 1-877-222-VETS. Those retired from the military can learn more by telephoning the Department of Defense at 1-800-538-9552.

Medicaid is a large government program that provides health care for 50 million Americans. Unlike the Medicare, program, the Medicaid programs cover prescription medications, such as expensive antiviral medications used to treat those with HIV infections as well as newer psychotropic medications. The drugs available to recipients vary somewhat among different states. Click here to learn more.

Although the majority of Medicaid funding is federal, the programs are administered by individual states according to their own guidelines. Since Medicaid programs vary from state to state, someone who moves from one state to another may lose or gain benefits. To learn more about each states' programs go to
www.cms.gov/medicaid. Medicare Part D kicks into effect late this year. To see how the changes will effect you, click here.

Native Indian tribes may purchase pharmaceuticals at a large discount. The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation in Connecticut operates the Pequot Pharmaceutical Network® that sells pharmaceuticals at a discount. To learn more, click on

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