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Donated Heart Medicine is a Lifesaver for Low-Income U.S. Patients

  • February 25, 2015

Christina had run out of blood pressure medication when she moved to Texas last summer to lower her cost of living. Retired and on a fixed income, she worried about the cost of medicine even though she was troubled by frequent dizzy spells and chest pain.  

Because of AmeriCares support to health care safety net clinics and health centers nationwide, Christina was able to resume her medication — for free.

Christina is a patient at the Greater Killeen Free Clinic, one of the clinics supported by AmeriCares U.S. Medical Assistance Program. The Killeen clinic received nearly $300,000 worth of free cardiovascular medicines from AmeriCares last year, including the two hypertension medicines Christina takes.

“If I didn’t get my medication from the clinic I would have to struggle,” said Christina, 64. “Without it, I honestly don’t know where I would be today, or if I would be here.”

With the help of committed pharmaceutical donors, AmeriCares supplied nearly $19 million in cardiovascular medicines to free clinics and community health centers across the United States last year – enough to fill 272,000 monthly prescriptions for patients in need. The donated medicines help patients like Christina who worked their whole lives only to find themselves uninsured and unable to work due to debilitating health problems.

AmeriCares is the nation’s largest provider of donated medical aid to the U.S. health care safety net, last year delivering more than $85 million in prescription and over-the-counter medicines and medical supplies for patients in need. Supported by the GE Foundation, the program helps partner clinics to increase capacity, provide comprehensive care, improve health outcomes and reduce costs for patients.  

“Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States and those in the lowest income brackets are at highest risk for cardiovascular disease,” says Lindsay O’Brien, manager of AmeriCares U.S. Medical Assistance Program.  “AmeriCares is committed to helping ensure that cardiovascular medications are available to the most vulnerable patients.”

Another Grateful Patient

Checking Christina’s blood pressure at Greater Killeen Free Clinic. Photo courtesy of Greater Killeen Free Clinic.

Maethell is another uninsured patient on a fixed income who is struggling with cardiovascular disease. She needs medication to manage her high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. “I know that if don’t take it I am going to have a heart attack or a stroke,” says the Wisconsin resident. Because Maethell is a patient at the AmeriCares-supported Bread of Healing Clinic in Milwaukee, she receives medicine at no cost – including several medications donated by AmeriCares.

After decades of caring for others – raising three children with her husband and helping with seven grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren – Maethell said it was a relief to find a clinic that would care for her.

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