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Small Turnout for Prescription Drug Bus
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 A national program is making stops around Connecticut this week to help residents who can't afford their medications.  

The sponsor of the campaign may come as a surprise
 
The Help is Here Express bus has been travelling the country with the goal of connecting Americans without insurance to almost 500 prescription assistance programs . It's not an initiative that launched recently because of  healthcare reform debates. U.S. Pharmaceutical companies have sponsored the bus since 2005.  
 
Jeff Gilbert, Spokesman for the Partnership for Prescription Assistance, says more than 5 million people have been connected to free or nearly free medications since the campaign started.
 
"As an industry we know that medicines sitting on a shelf at a pharmacy don't do anyone any good. They don't do our industry any good, they don't do a patient any good. And so these programs are there to help people get to those medications."
 
But at stops in West Hartford and downtown Hartford--only a handful of people came to the Help is Here Express bus to learn more. Rafeal Nunez from Hartford found out about the bus from a friend. He's been unemployed for awhile and he's having trouble paying for prescription drugs. 
 
"Oh a $1000 a year. All the information I got is good, I can save close to 70 percent at least, you know?"
 
The prescription assistance programs take into account  a person's income and what types of medication they're on. More than 2500 brand name medicines are available--including generics.
 
Gilbert says on the first day of the bus tour through Connecticut, about 3 dozen people were helped in Middletown and New Haven. More stops are planned later this week in Manchester, Madison, and Norwich. 

 

Media blackout?

THREE DOZEN??

With a turnout like that, I can only assume that the low turnout is the result of a deliberate non-announcement of the event. I can think of fifty people I could have personally counted on showing up for this. When an organization actually wants to do good, and has no other agenda, (and has MINIMALLY competent marketing help!) events like this are *swamped*.

See http://www.ramusa.org/ for the recent event where Remote Area Medical provided free medical care for thousands of Los Angeles area residents.

I am underwhelmed, to say the least, with The Help is Here Express. The numbers touted since 2005 are a drop in the bucket.

Either this was for show, or this event needs to fire it's public relations staff, pronto.