Patient Assistance Program Helps the Needy

Making medicine is just the beginning for Schering-Plough. The pharmaceutical company’s SP Cares Patient Assistance Program helps low-income patients who do not have private or public prescription drug insurance coverage and can’t otherwise afford treatment.

Those who qualify have an income that is approximately $18,000 per year for an individual or $24,000 for a couple. The program is for allergy, asthma, dermatology, and cardiovascular patients. Merck/Schering-Plough’s Patient Assistance Program helps patients with elevated cholesterol.

“Our program provides qualified patients with assistance for prescription medications during periods of financial hardship,” said Kathy Zonca, of the SP Cares Program.

Applicants complete a form, have their doctor fill out some of the application, and mail it along with copies of proof of income documents to the program which is based in Phoenix, AZ with world headquarters in Kenilworth, NJ.

The patient and doctor are then notified of the status of the application.

According to SP Cares Program literature, Schering Corporation will make every effort to grant aid to a patient in need; however the program may be discontinued at any time. The program requires that each patient re-qualify annually. Those qualifying are authorized to receive a year of medication orders shipped in three-month increments. Those re-applying are notified by mail regarding their continued eligibility for further participation in the program.

Schering-Plough’s Commitment To Care Program is designed to ensure that eligible people regardless of their ability to pay have access to Schering’s cancer and hepatitis drugs. In 2003 the program helped more than 6,000 patients get reimbursement assistance. Unlike many other reimbursement assistance programs, this program is telephone-based, offers patients easy access to a reimbursement assistance specialist with rapid follow-up, and eliminates extensive paper work.

Informal patient assistance programs have been in place at Schering-Plough since the early 1980s

“In 2004 we made great progress in our six-to-eight year Action Agenda to transform Schering-Plough into a new kind of health care company – a company that can deliver long-term, high performance in the challenging new environment of the 21st century,” said Schering-Plough’s CEO and Chairman Fred Hassan. “Our colleagues in Schering-Plough are rising to the challenge of change.”

First established in the late 1800s at Schering AG, a German-based pharmaceutical and chemical company, Schering Corporation was incorporated in New York City in 1928 and in New Jersey in 1935. The 1940s proved to be a key decade in the history of the company as it evolved from a European-based company with U.S. operations into a truly American enterprise. For Schering, the 1950s and 1960s were characterized by continued growth and during the 1980s and 1990s they refined their focus on four key therapeutic areas and continued to excel at innovative approaches to treating disease.

Schering-Plough has global business facilities in more than 50 countries across six continents

For more information about SP Cares, call 1-800-656-9485 or go to To find out more about the Commitment To Care Program, call 1-800-521-7157.

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