Many seniors in retirement living communities find themselves taking one or more prescriptions, and Medicare Part D may only cover part of the costs.
For those on fixed incomes, Eli Lilly Pharmaceuticals has expanded its patient assistance program to cover couples who make up to $44,000 annually, or at least 300 percent times federal rates for poverty.
Most of the drugmaker's portfolio is made available to consumers who enroll in the program at little or no cost, and contributed more than $800 million in prescripton drugs over the previous three years when it was limited to those making 200 percent or less of federal poverty levels.
Both pharmaceutical firms and other companies, like Wal-Mart, have begun or expanded efforts to increase the availability of medications to those in need since the economic downturn last fall.
"By making these changes, we are addressing a real concern for patients we have heard from in recent months," said Dr John Lechleiter, Eli Lilly chairmain, president and CEO.
"Relaxing the income guidelines for Lilly's patient assistance programs [means] more patients will qualify for Lilly's patient assistance programs."