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Consumers Do Not Need to Pay
for Information on Free Drugs

The Federal Trade Commission is urging consumers to be wary of e-mails from marketers offering information on free or low-cost prescription drug programs for a fee. A new consumer alert, “No Need to Pay for Information on Free (or Low-Cost) Rx Drugs,” cautions consumers that some marketers may be using spam e-mails to trick consumers into paying as much as $195 for information that is publicly available for free.

The FTC’s alert tells consumers that free information on discounted or free prescription drugs is available from physicians, pharmacists and a new Web site, The Web site provides information on patient assistance programs for consumers who lack prescription drug coverage. Consumers can apply for free or low-cost prescription programs or medicines on the Web site, or ask a health care provider to help them apply.

“Don’t be misled by ads promising ‘free’ prescription drugs,” said Lydia Parnes, Acting Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “Although such programs exist, eligibility requirements are strict. Information about these programs is free and readily available.”

Industry and government patient assistance programs offer nearly 1,000 medicines to treat a variety of diseases and conditions, including cancer, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, stroke, schizophrenia, and depression. However, not all consumers qualify for the programs. Consumers’ eligibility is determined in part by their income and the cost of the drugs they need – a computer program determines whether consumers match with a particular program.

The FTC’s consumer alert is available at

© CONTACTO Magazine
Published on November 20, 2004

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