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How to Access Medicines During an Emergency
During times of natural disasters, many families are forced to evacuate to safety in a hurry with little more than they can carry. With so much to worry about, prescription medicines may be left behind.
For those forced to flee, not having essential medicines can be a health threat. At the very least, their absence can add to the sense of distress that people feel during a crisis.
Here are some ways to find help if you are without your prescription drugs during a natural disaster:
- If you are unsure if pharmacies are open in your area or in an area you have relocated to, visit RxOpen.org. This website keeps track of open and closed pharmacies during disasters, as well as information on American Red Cross shelters and infusion centers in affected communities.
- The American Red Cross can provide assistance with getting access to medications during disasters and has health service volunteers who can be of assistance with refilling prescriptions.
- Some states relax rules regarding refills when a state of emergency has been declared. For instance, Texas allows patients to receive a 30-day supply of medication without a prescription at a pharmacist’s discression,1 and Florida permits early refills in advance of a storm.2
You may also want to reach out to the manufacturer of your medicine for help, especially if you were receiving your medicine through a manufacturer’s patient assistance program. For the recent events, Pfizer implemented its emergency relief protocols for patients who are receiving their medicines through a Pfizer patient assistance program. Specifically:
- If a medicine provided through a Pfizer patient assistance program has been destroyed or lost, or patients who are enrolled are unable to reach their doctors’ offices and need their medicine shipped to an alternate location, we can arrange for early refills and/or new shipping addresses.
- If new patients urgently need a Pfizer medicine but have been displaced and are unable to access income documentation and other paperwork needed for enrollment into the program, we are able to waive these requirements so that patients can receive their medication as quickly as possible.
- Facilities that participate in our bulk replenishment Institutional Patient Assistance Program can request early replenishment of the Pfizer medicines covered or request additional inventory to meet increased demand.
Visit PfizerRxPathways.com or call 1-844-989-PATH (7284) and speak with a Medicine Access Counselor who can help.
In addition to these emergency protocols, Pfizer is also helping to improve access to healthcare and help with the recovery process in other ways through a comprehensive and coordinated plan at a company-wide level. The Pfizer Foundation made significant cash grants to key organizations leading relief efforts on the ground. The Pfizer Foundation has also extended its special one-to-one match for monetary donations made by Pfizer colleagues to organizations supporting the relief effort. And finally, donations of both prescription and consumer products are currently underway through Direct Relief and AmeriCares, and Pfizer is prepared to make additional product donations to these organizations and others, as needed.
All of those who have been impacted by these devastating disasters are in our thoughts, and we wish everyone strength and resilience during the healing and rebuilding process.
The Pfizer Foundation is a charitable organization established by Pfizer Inc. The Pfizer patient assistance program is a joint program of Pfizer Inc and the Pfizer Patient Assistance Foundation™. The Pfizer Foundation and the Pfizer Patient Assistance Foundation are separate legal entities from Pfizer Inc with distinct legal restrictions.