The foundation’s new program will provide up to $6,500 annually to each eligible patient. The money goes toward out-of-pocket payments associated with SMA therapeutics, such as insurance deductibles, co-payments, and coinsurance costs.
“We’re excited to help individuals with spinal muscular atrophy access new therapies to manage their symptoms and give them more time with their loved ones,” Dan Klein, president and CEO of the PAN Foundation, said in a press release.
“We would like to see the pace of research and development continue to gain momentum, so more people can get the treatment they need,” Klein said.
Applicants must reside and be receiving SMA treatment in the United States or other U.S. territories, although U.S. citizenship is not required. They also must be prescribed a therapy that is part of the organization’s list of covered medications and have health insurance that covers the qualifying medicine or product. In addition, applicants must have an income that falls at or below 400% of the federal poverty level. Go here to determine your income eligibility.
To apply — an advocate may apply on a patient’s behalf — use the online patient portal or call 866-316-7263 between the hours of 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday. If an application is approved, funds are available immediately. Subject to funding availability, patients may apply for additional assistance.
The independent nonprofit PAN Foundation provides financial assistance for a variety of disorders to underinsured patients who can’t afford out-of-pocket expenses for their prescribed medications. Since 2004, the organization has given more than $3 billion in financial assistance to nearly 1 million patients who would otherwise be unable to afford treatment.
SMA is a neurodegenerative disease, and the most common cause of infant mortality linked to a genetic mutation. The disease is characterized by progressive muscle weakness caused by the loss of specialized nerve cells called motor neurons in the spinal cord and the part of the brain connected to the spinal cord.
There is currently no cure for SMA, which is estimated to affect up to 20,000 people in the U.S. alone, according to the Spinal Muscular Atrophy Foundation. However, there are treatments that help patients manage the condition. A number of experimental therapies also are being developed.
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