A firestorm erupted after the maker of EpiPen announced steep price hikes for the life-saving injector device. It helps people who have potentially fatal allergic reactions.
The EpiPen is just one of many critical medications that cost a lot of money. Jessica Galleshaw, the senior director of health initiatives with the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, talks about what families can do to combat skyrocketing medication costs.
Interview Highlights: Jessica Galleshaw ...
... on the kinds of assistance available: "Well, unfortunately there's not a whole lot out there in terms of a singular clear program that somebody can go to find assistance. But there are a lot of organizations in our community. A lot of our United Way Of Metropolitan Dallas services providers are doing everything they can to make sure that the families that come in to get services are able to access those prescriptions. For example, our partner Los Barrios Unidos, they are a community health [group] in West Dallas and they actually have an on-site pharmacy. It's a federally-qualified health center, that means that they meet a lot of strict criteria in terms of their outcomes; in terms of the services they're providing; who they're reaching, and they get some discounts on their medications through that and then they pass those along to their uninsured patients."
... on where to go for help: "You can actually visit our website -- UnitedWayDallas.org -- and you can find information about all of our service provider partners who can help you find access and some other tips for folks. Now a lot of our service providers really target lower-income families, but the way that prescription prices are rising is really impacting families, even middle-income families, families kind of across the economic spectrum."
... on affording medications with a limited budget: "Talk to your doctor about alternatives. Talk to your pharmacists about generics. Don't be afraid to talk about those things, to bring them up. Shop around at different pharmacies, and of course check out the prescription assistance programs. You can always call 211 as well for assistance; they can help refer you to some local agencies that can help provide assistance.
Jessica Galleshaw is the senior director of health initiatives for the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas.
A list of tips and assistance programs through the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas is here.
A link to the United Way of Dallas is here.