Merck & Co., Inc. Statement on Medicare Part D Assistance
Merck&Co., Inc. today said it supports a proposal to provide additional assistance to Medicare Part D beneficiaries who have reached the coverage gap (donut hole) in their prescription benefit.
Merck has a history of working to increase access to affordable health care and prescription drug coverage. In 2006, Merck supported the creation of the Medicare Part D program and continues to support its design and mission.
Since its introduction, the Medicare Part D program has shown that beneficiaries' access to medicines has greatly improved and they are saving money. However, the dynamics of the Medicare Part D coverage gap have created some instability in the benefit for the consumer. Providing additional assistance in the coverage gap supports the success of the Medicare Part D program and mitigates cost hurdles for Medicare patients that can lead to lack of treatment adherence.
"Our goal is to make sure that every patient who has been prescribed a Merck medicine has access to that medicine," said Richard T. Clark, chairman, president and CEO of Merck. "Merck has been providing free medicines to Medicare Part D beneficiaries through our Patient Assistance Programs for many years. With this new proposal we will go the extra step and offer direct savings to Medicare Part D beneficiaries in the coverage gap regardless of their income."
Merck Expands Patient Assistance Programs
The Merck Patient Assistance Program remains unchanged; it can provide free medicines to certain Medicare beneficiaries who have trouble affording their medicines. In March, the company increased the number of people who may benefit from the Merck Patient Assistance Program by raising the amount of income potential patients can earn and still qualify to receive Merck medicines for free.
Patients in the United States now may be eligible for the program if their household income is at or below 400 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL), which is set by the U.S. government and they are uninsured or otherwise unable to afford their medicines. This means that patients now qualify if they have a household income of $43,320 or less for individuals, $58,280 or less for couples, or $88,200 or less for a family of four, even if the financial situation is temporary due to unemployment or other reasons. Previously, patients were eligible if they were 200 percent or below FPL, which currently is $21,660, $29,140 and $44,100¹, respectively.
The Merck Patient Assistance Program is one of the oldest and most generous assistance programs in the industry. Over the past seven years, Merck has provided more than 1.7 million prescriptions to patients through the Merck Patient Assistance Program, at a value of $1.9 billion.
For more information on Merck's patient assistance programs visit: visit www.MerckHelps.com or call (800) PAP-5400.
Merck&Co., Inc. is a global research-driven pharmaceutical company dedicated to putting patients first. Established in 1891, Merck currently discovers, develops, manufactures and markets vaccines and medicines to address unmet medical needs. The Company devotes extensive efforts to increase access to medicines through far-reaching programs that not only donate Merck medicines but help deliver them to the people who need them. Merck also publishes unbiased health information as a not-for-profit service. For more information, visit http://www.merck.com.
This press release contains "forward-looking statements" as that term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are based on management's current expectations and involve risks and uncertainties, which may cause results to differ materially from those set forth in the statements. The forward-looking statements may include statements regarding product development, product potential or financial performance. No forward-looking statement can be guaranteed and actual results may differ materially from those projected. Merck undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise. Forward-looking statements in this press release should be evaluated together with the many uncertainties that affect Merck's business, particularly those mentioned in the risk factors and cautionary statements in Item 1A of Merck's Form 10-K for the year ended Dec. 31, 2008, and in any risk factors or cautionary statements contained in the Company's periodic reports on Form 10-Q or current reports on Form 8-K, which the Company incorporates by reference.
For Merck&Co., Inc.
Ron Rogers, 908-391-4302 (Media)
Eva Borotto, 908-423-5185 (Investors)