Prescription program offers some relief

VENICE, Calif. The "Help is Here Express" bus is touring the country offering instant assistance to uninsured and financially struggling Americans. The service is free of charge

The "Help is Here Express," sponsored by the Partnership for Prescription Assistance, provides a single point of access to information on hundreds of patient assistance programs, including those that provide prescription drugs free of charge or at a very low cost. The bus is equipped with computer terminals, phones and trained specialists to guide people through available programs and help them find out if they qualify for discounts.

With the California unemployment rate soaring, many people have lost health care benefits and are in need of help.

"We have come across cases where people basically have stopped taking their medications because they're unable to afford them," said Christina Sanchez, Partnership for Prescription Assistance. "In any case somebody walks away with either something that's free for them, if it's a chronic disease, or something that they may be able to get a lower price, but it's important that they continue to take their medications."

The "Help is Here Express" is at the South Gate Senior Center Monday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. It will also make stops in Long Beach and Hollywood.

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