A pharmaceutical company launched a new program that provides more than 70 prescriptions at no cost to jobless workers, but a lot of people are focusing their attention on just one of the drugs on the list. Guess which one.
Yes, Viagra is one of the free prescriptions covered by Pfizer's new program for jobless workers, but so are a host of other medications, including those that treat diabetes, depression, and heart disease. Still, many a newspaper referenced Viagra in the headline for their articles on the program (we'd like to pretend we are above the fray but take a look at our headline).
The idea for the program came from the company's employees just last month. Some employees have even volunteered to donate their own money to the program, and the Pfizer Foundation will match their donations.
E ligibility requirements of the new program include:
- Loss of employment since January 1, 2009
- Prescribed and taking a Pfizer medicine for at least 3 months prior to becoming unemployed and enrolling in the program
- Lack of prescription drug coverage
- Can attest to financial hardship
Those who qualify for the program will receive their Pfizer medicines for free for up to 12 months or until they become re-insured (whichever comes first).
“We all know people who have been laid off recently and have lost their health insurance, making it difficult for them to pay for health care,” said Dr. Jorge Puente, Pfizer's regional president of Worldwide Pharmaceuticals. “We thought there must be some way we could help recently unemployed people who are taking Pfizer medicines to continue treatment during these challenging economic times.”
The new program will begin July 1, 2009.
Cynics will point out that the company's program probably isn't just about pure altruism. The good PR cannot hurt and the company will keep jobless workers using its medications instead of switching to a less-expensive generic (which becomes important once they find a new job and health insurance). But if you are jobless and rely on one of the company's medications, you are happy the program exists.